Do you look forward to praying and believe God listens? Do you pray to God with the same honesty and intensity as when you speak with a close friend?
A devotional is an in-depth Bible study. A typical devotional should take you anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete. Download and print a PDF version of this devotional for yourself, or use it with a friend to create an engaging discussion.
This Bible Study was inspired by the Ya Gotta See Him Move from the “Believe” series.
- Do you look forward to praying and believe God listens?
- Do you pray to God with the same honesty and intensity as when you speak with a close friend?
11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 AMPC
- Motivation to pray comes from understanding the heart and desires of God – believing in a God who deeply desires to be close to us, dreams for us, longs for us, and inspires us with a hope and future beyond what we can imagine.
Deep Honesty Brings God Near
The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18 NLT
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66:16-20 NIV
- Truthfulness moves God to draw near to us.
- When we hide or lie we are the ones refusing to be close to God.
- What truth are you unwilling to admit and deal with?
- Is there any bitterness, deceit, or hidden sins in your relationship with God or with others that you are “cherishing”?
Forgiveness In Prayer Deepens Connection With God
[14-15] “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
Matthew 6:14-15 MSG
- There is a connection between what God does and what you do in prayer.
- Refusing to forgive others undermines our relationship with God and keeps us from experiencing forgiveness that comes from him.
- Who does God want you to forgive?
Do Your Emotions Deepen or Derail Your Prayers?
While Jesus lived on earth, he prayed to God and asked God for help. He prayed with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death. And his prayer was heard because he left it all up to God.
Hebrews 5:7 ICB
- No one prayed with greater depth than Jesus. His “Deep Prayer” was filled with conversation (prayer), perseverance (petition), and intensely focused emotion (fervent cries and tears).
- What God knew about Jesus, and knows about us, is that we must express our emotions before we will listen.
- Emotions don’t have to be true to be heard.
- In fact, when we pray and hear our own emotions, we often identify the raging irrationality of what we are saying, and are surprised by the gentleness of God who listens, then draws even closer to us, because of our emotional honesty.
- However, when we harden and ignore our emotions, this leads to deeper sins that derail our connection with and faithfulness to God.
- What are the predominant emotions of your day? Do you pray through these honestly and vulnerably with God?
- Do you seek to see the truth at the root of these emotions as you pray?
Deep Prayer Strengthens Us to Defeat Long-Standing Sin
41 Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For the spirit indeed is willing, but how weak the body is!”
Matthew 26:41-42 TLB
40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray for strength against temptation.”
41 Then Jesus went about a stone’s throw away from them. He kneeled down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him to strengthen him.
Luke 22:40-42 NCV
Jesus: That sort of powerful spirit can only be conquered with much prayer.
Mark 9:29 Voice
- Jesus makes it clear that there are powerful temptations and sins that we cannot overcome by human strength alone.
- Too often when faced with long-standing sins or character weaknesses in our lives, we tend to accept defeat and discouragement rather than allow these challenges to make us determined to pursue and rely on God all the more.
- Do you believe there is no sin that is impossible to overcome when you pray?
- How deeply and specifically do you turn to God throughout your day, in the midst of temptation, or when faced with difficulty?
- Do you turn to prayer first rather than people to find internal strength to defeat sin in your life?
- Decide to turn to God in prayer for the strength you need.