I think that one of the most difficult things for a Christian to do is know how to pray. Even the Apostles, who had witnessed the most astounding miracles -- the blind who could see; the lame who could walk; the dead who rose to life -- didn't ask Jesus to teach them how to do greater miracles. They asked Him to teach them how to pray, which tells me it was a struggle for them, too.
I think that after spending nearly three years with Him, they had discerned that Jesus's private prayer life was instrumental to the success of His public ministry, and therefore it was incumbent upon them to know what was involved in a meaningful prayer life. But somehow, down through the centuries, it seems to me that prayer has somehow become seen as the solution to all our problems. By that, I mean that we have come to believe that whenever confronted with a problem, or some misfortune in our life, if we just knew the right words to say, that God would fix everything. In one sense, prayer has become a catch-all for everything we desire from God ... from our basic human needs to comfort in the most tragic of circumstances.
Please know that I am not discounting prayer! It is a very important component of our relationship with God, the Father; just as it was to His Son. But Jesus prayed to God out of a knowledge of Him and His Truths. Jesus's prayers were heartfelt, and centered on the relationship He had with God. Our relationship with God comes from who we understand Him to be; from what He has revealed to us through His Word.
One of the reasons I think there is so much need for Deliverance Ministries and Inner Healing is that people have the mistaken belief that prayer is all they need in order to be healed. If they just pray hard enough and often enough, then God will take away the torment of guilt, shame, anger, rebellion, unforgiveness -- or whatever sin is keeping them in bondage. But I know too many people for whom prayer has not relieved the pressures and torments of this life. But do we advise those people to quit praying? Absolutely not! But may I suggest that they alter their prayer life in a manner that has worked for me.
When those times come in my life when I am anxious about something, or tormented by worry or fear, instead of asking God to fix things for me, or to take away my state of anxiety or uncertainty, I stop and remember all the times He has delivered me from such distress. You see, God and I have a history -- just as each of your lives represent a series of past events connected with Him. And when my prayer conversation with Him is focused on praising Him for all those times He was there for me -- especially in the midst of sadness, tragedy, my mistakes, and attacks by the Enemy -- then suddenly I am looking forward in the spirit of hope and trust as I remember the evidence of His presence in my past. That undeniable evidence provides assurance that He will be there in my present circumstances, because He is Immutable; He never changes.
This is exactly how it works in Deliverance Ministry. The wounds we’ve suffered in our lives are stored in memories; and our memories are stored in pictures. Jesus and God are Omnipresent, so we know They were there during those events that have wounded us. I believe that Jesus created our imaginations to help our spirits communicate with our minds, so we can recall events in our lives and see that He was there, so that He can heal us inside the memory.
So when our prayers involve our memories, we have a picture to refer to; the power to recall the Goodness and Protection of God. And it is a conversation that I can only presume pleases our Abba, Father. Yes, Jesus tells us in John 14:14 that we can ask anything in His Name, and He will do it. That is certainly allowable in our prayers. But, as in all truly intimate relationships, there are times when we put our Beloved ahead of ourselves and let them know we recognize all they are to us. Prayer is not always about what we need; some of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible are ones of praise and remembrance. How blessed and loved I feel when I can recall my Lord's presence and grace in my life, and then share those sweet and empowering memories with Him.
Psalm 77:11-12 "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds".
Psalm 103:2 "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me".