The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit. * * *
1 Corinthians 2:14
Does God hear me when I pray?
Youth for Christ
Prayer has a place of highest priority in the Bible. Some of the Scriptures’ most transcendent passages deal with prayers expressing praise, worship, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication. The lives of the outstanding people of God of both the Old and New Testaments, and down through the history of the church, were characterized by much prayer. All the recorded revivals of history had their beginnings in prayer. Anything of value in the kingdom of God is initiated in and dependent on prayer.
The Bible reveals our ignorance of prayer:
“We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
“When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
The Bible invites us, actually commands us, to pray:
“In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The Bible offers many guidelines for praying:
1. Through individual promises (there are hundreds of recorded promises in the Bible):
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6).
“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
2. Through the prayers of Christ:
• The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:6–14; Luke 11:1–4)
• His prayer for His own (John 17)
• His prayer at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11:41–45)
• His prayer at His Transfiguration (Luke 9:28–36)
• His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–46) • His prayers from the cross (Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:34, 46)
3. Through the prayers of the great spiritual leaders of the Bible:
Abraham’s servant’s prayer and God’s answer (Genesis 24:12–66)
Jacob’s prayer for deliverance from Esau and God’s answer (Genesis 32:9–33:16)
Moses’ prayer for God’s presence and glory (Exodus 33:12–23)
Joshua’s prayer of despair and God’s answer (Joshua 7:6–26)
Hannah’s prayer and vow, and God’s answer (1 Samuel 1:1–28)
Elijah’s prayer and God’s answer (1 Kings 18:41–46; see James 5:17–18)
Hezekiah’s prayer and God’s answer (2 Kings 19:14–37)
David’s thanksgiving and prayer for his people and for his son (1 Chronicles 29:10–19)
Solomon’s prayer at the temple dedication and God’s answer (2 Chronicles 6:12–42)
David’s prayer of repentance and confession (Psalm 51)
Other prayers, thanksgiving, and praise in the book of Psalms
Paul’s prayer for knowledge and wisdom (Ephesians 1:15–23)
Paul’s prayer for believers (Ephesians 3:14–21)
Paul’s exhortation to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:1–8)