Life has divine detours, but do we recognize them as such? When life changes directions, it’s time to talk to God.
In my novel, Run, thirteen-year-old Tyler’s life takes a detour when his family is uprooted from their home and transplanted to small-town Appalachia. At first, Tyler wasn’t talking to God much. By the end, he talked to God—a lot—and saw some pretty amazing things happen. How can believers pray effectively, and experience the presence and power of God in the midst of a divine detour?
Prayer is simply talking to God—and He’s always there, always listening. But how do we pray?
Key Verses: Mark 11:24-25 NLT. “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Good news, God wants your company! He speaks to His children primarily through His Word, the Bible. Then He wants us to reply, sharing our inner thoughts and feelings in prayer. Prayer can be profoundly simple, such as Peter’s “Save me, Lord!” (Matthew 14:30) or detailed like the nearly 1,200 word Levitical prayer recorded in Nehemiah chapter nine.
There is a certain mystery to prayer. God is in control, yet He expects His children to pray. Talking to God is crucial to the believer’s life, affecting spiritual growth, and has a radical effect in both the earthly and spiritual realms.
In Matthew 6:9-13, the Lord Jesus taught us how to pray by providing a model called “The Lord’s Prayer,” a misnomer since it is actually the disciples’ prayer. According to verse nine, believers address God as Father! What does that tell you about how God views you? Note ascribing holiness to God’s name is a form of praise. In verse ten, believers yield their wills to God. What do you think will happen when God’s Kingdom comes? Are you willing to align yourself with God’s will? What might that look like in your next week?
God hears all prayers, but He gives certain guidelines to be truly heard. The first is that we must belong to God, we must become His children according to John 1:12 and Matthew 7:9-11? Are you one of God’s children? If you are unsure, ask a trusted friend how you can be sure.
Prayer usually includes four parts:
- Praising God
- Confessing sins
- Thanking God
- Making requests for yourself and others.
According to Psalm 66:18, why is it so important to confess our sins to God regularly?
On the one hand, answers to prayer hold a certain mystery, on the other the results of prayer are easy to understand. Which prayers will God always answer with a yes according to 1 John 5:14-15 and which will He usually answer with a no? (see James 4:2-3)
Have you ever not prayed for a miracle because you were afraid of disappointment if God answered no? Christians talk about the power of prayer, but how much time do believers actually spend praying? How about you? How often throughout the day do you “talk to God” as you would talk to your family or a friend? Can you kick that up a notch today?
Find out more about prayer, finding friends, forgiveness, handling bullies, and selflessness at http://www.glennhaggerty.com/my-books/run-companion-bible-study/
Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION v(NLT). Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Glenn Haggerty has a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary. He is an award-winning author who combines his love for teaching God’s word with his passion for writing exciting fiction. In addition to the action adventure novel, Run (Intense Book 2), he has published two additional books in his Intense series, Escape (Book 1) and Chase (Book 3). Eight of his short stories have appeared in six magazines, including Cadet Quest, Partners, Splickety, and Havok.