Prayer is the linchpin of the Christian life and the more effectively you pray, the more powerful your life will be for God.

Remember, there are all kinds of prayers, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). Our private prayer time will have a different nature than corporate prayer. We need to be aware of what is appropriate in a group setting versus our personal prayers.

In Matthew 6:8 Jesus is again teaching on prayer and he says don’t try to impress God with many words like pagans do. God is not impressed with lengthy prayers. Lengthy prayers do not carry more weight with God just because they are long. We also need to be careful that we don’t get into “vain repetitions,” which can happen if we just repeat the same phrases and clichés in every prayer without truly thinking of what we’re saying.

Phillips Brooks has written: “Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctances but taking hold of God’s willingness.” We don’t pray to try to persuade God to do what we want him to do. We pray so that we can align ourselves with his purposes in our lives and take hold of all he wants to do for us and through us.

Prayer is for our benefit. God has no need-to-know. We don’t have to educate him; he knows everything before we ask him or tell him. But when we bring our needs and petitions and praise to God, we show him and remind ourselves that we are letting go of the controls of our lives and giving them to the Lord. We are presenting our cares to God, not to inform him of our need, but to demonstrate our trust in him. To show that we recognize our inability and trust his ability.

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