What Prayer Is…

How Can a Person Describe Prayer?


Nov 10, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction


A.      How can I describe prayer? Real, problem-solving, heart-lifting, mountain-moving prayer? How can that be described so everyone does it?

B.      People have a million different ideas about what “prayer” is


1.      Many pray the “Our Father” and call it praying

2.      Many pray through decades and decades of beads

3.      Many moan and wail, bobbing back and forth, and call it prayer

4.      Others cross themselves, and bless themselves, and believe they are praying

5.      Some recite memorised prayers from childhood, and think they are praying

6.      Others go into a trance and speak unintelligible words, and in unknown tongues, and think they are praying!


C.      What Prayer is NOT


1.      It is NOT about Repeating yourself

2.      Empty words spoken into the air

3.      It is not a show or a performance

4.      Long drawn out praying with much words – as if to wear out God

5.      It is not only about YOU and your needs


D.     Prayer is different and even BETTER than any of that!

E.      The BIBLE, and the Bible alone describes what prayer is and how to pray


II.    Message - What Prayer IS


A.      Prayer Is… The Desire of God (Proverbs 15:8)


1.      Prayer means to TALK with God – it means to spend time with Him every day, all day – to ABIDE with Him, hang around Him, bring all our needs to Him, casting all our cares upon Him!


a.       Like Jesus constantly did!


1)     Who walked constantly in a mind of prayer

2)     He pleased God, not by His performance, but by His constant talking with His Father


b.      Like Hannah finally did! She shows us what prayer is (1st Samuel 1:10,12,13)


1)     She had held off from praying for so long that she had become bitter and angry

2)     So, when she prayed, it was Real – bitterness of soul, crying

3)     Prayer is Speaking to God in your heart

4)     And Prayer is getting what you need from God!


2.      It is DESIRED by God – first and foremost! Before you or I ever think about praying, Realise that God is waiting for us to pray – to talk with Him!

3.      He desires to hear us pray about everything – to hear us TALK with Him!

4.      God YEARNS to be needed by us (1st Peter 3:12)

5.      God the Father even placed His Holy Spirit into each and every one of His children so that they could cry out in the most intimate of words, “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6) – not fancy, formal, stiff words, but child-like words to his loving Father

6.      So, Forget about what you can get from God

7.      And focus on FIRST worshipping the one and only true God

8.      That’s what HE seeks (John 4:22,23)

9.      And that is where prayer begins!


B.      Prayer Is… The Delight of His People – at least it OUGHT to be (Psalm 37:4)!


1.      Prayer is NOT a thing we do, but a way we live


a.       Marriage is not a thing we do, but a way we live with each other

b.      Not a chore, or a task to be ticked off when accomplished

c.       It is the time a child WANTS to spend with his parent – with his Father

d.      One third of us was made to constantly walk with God – our spirit!

e.       Yet this part of us is almost completely ignored by us, neglected, made fun of


2.      Pray delighting in just who God is

3.      Enjoying trusting God instead of anything else

4.      Just spending time with HIM


a.       Moses went up to Mt Sinai to get the Law. He stayed up there for 40 days because he enjoyed spending time with God

b.      Peter, James and John went up to the Mount of Transfiguration just to be with Jesus, and when He was transfigured in front of their eyes, they wanted to build shelters, and just stay up there with Him

c.       If people want something from me, then spend time WITH me please! Same goes for God!


5.      To pray as a matter of duty, or religious effort is a waste of time

6.      But as an act of love, it will work almost every time!

7.      Every living breathing human being should pray…

8.      But everyone who prays, who really prays, should find the resulting effect so fantastic that they would rather spend days and weeks and a lifetime in prayer (Psalm 84:10)!


C.      Prayer Is… Our ONLY Access to God (Hebrews 4:16)


1.      Think about it


a.       There is NO OTHER WAY to talk with God

b.      There is no telephone booth, no internet website, no mystical trance that you can use to communicate with our Creator!

c.       God made it all possible through the work of prayer


2.      Draw nigh unto God by prayer

3.      Coming boldly before His throne…

4.      Don’t think you can come near unto God by going into a Cathedral, or into a “holy place” or through some “great” praying guru

5.      Just get near unto God by taking time to pray!


D.     Prayer is More than We Think it is.
It has the Following Ingredients (don’t skimp on them):


1.      It is Humility! Requires us to Humble Ourselves


a.       That’s why we get alone (Mt 6:5,6; 14:23). Jesus got away from everyone to pray. There was no pride in praying – no showing off!

b.      That’s why we bow the knee – not normally flat on our face, but at least LOW, like before a king!

c.       That’s why we bow our heads and close our eyes

d.      BE HUMBLE in His presence!

e.       Humble yourselves before GOD ALMIGHTY

f.        When you pray, you have HIS attention! So, give Him all of yours!


2.      It is Honesty! Confess our sins, to the One we have sinned most against!


a.       The first thing to work through is anything that might be causing GOD to be upset with you

b.      We start with open, honest confession to God

c.       NO PRIEST IS NEEDED NOW – only ONE High Priest – ONE Mediator

d.      THINK ladies and gentlemen…


1)     Have you disobeyed God?

2)     Are you resisting His leading in your life?

3)     How has your THOUGHT life been lately?

4)     What angry, ungodly words have flowed out of your mouth?

5)     How wondering have your eyes been?

6)     How bitter have you let your heart become?

7)     How little do you spend time with God?


e.       If you won’t accept that you are WRONG, and STUPID, then why waste your time praying???


3.      It is Believing God! Believing God’s promises – Biblical desperation!


a.       Why pray if you DON’T think God can do miracles? Amazing things?

b.      Believe God – not just “in” God! Even the devils believe in God!

c.       Have faith in God (Mark 11:21-24)

d.      Believe He can do exceeding, abundantly, above, ALL that you ask, or even THINK!

e.       I like to recall a powerful Scripture when praying – there are HUNDREDS of them…


1)     Jer 33:3

2)     John 15:7  “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”


f.        Desperation in prayer is a pretty good thing


1)     If nothing else is working, and you have done your best, and opthers have done their best…

2)     Then I would say it is time for God to do His best!


4.      It is Forgiving! Forgiving all those who have hurt YOU! (Mark 11:24-26; Mt 5:44)


a.       What a vital ingredient!

b.      We want forgiveness BY God, but we won’t offer it to others! Real good isn’t it?!

c.       Jesus commands us to forgive when we pray

d.      Take time to examine your heart, your temper, your attitude towards everyone

e.       Go to them and forgive them

f.        THAT IS, IF, You want YOUR prayers to be answered!


5.      It is Asking! Asking for what you want (Matthew 7:7-11)


a.       Once the first 4 steps are taken, THEN can you ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7)

b.      ASK!

c.       Don’t worry about knowing the exact words to say, and HOW to say them…

d.      Just ask!

e.       Ask and ye shall receive!

f.        Don’t be embarrassed about what you are asking for (Philp 4:6)


1)     For the big things – not matter how big


a)     Health problems

b)     For other people’s disasters they are going through – safety

c)      For people’s souls to be saved from the coming wrath of God on this world


2)     For small things (there really are not any small requests)


a)     Like peace, and calmness

b)     Like, to help you find your keys

c)      Or, ask for God to bring things back to your memory when you take a test


3)     Pray for your enemies – to leave you alone!

4)     Pray for your needs

5)     Pray about everything – in other words, talk to God about everything you are feeling, everything you are lacking, every problem, and every obstacle in your way!


g.       The Holy Spirit will take what you say and expand it, and fix it up so that it is just right (Romans 8:26,27)

h.      You don’t have to come up with a powerful speech to convince God. Just talk to Him! Be in the habit of talking to Him constantly!

i.         Examples:


1)     Elijah knelt and prayed surrounded by tens of thousands of rebellious, ungodly Israelites on Mt Carmal. He prayed only 63 words, and God answered and the entire crowd fell to THEIR knees in humiliation and admittance that Jehovah God is the only true God!

2)     Elijah just bowed his head one day, and prayed that it would not rain, and it never rained again… not until he prayed again and asked God to allow it to start to rain again, which was 3 and ½ years later!


6.      It is Listening! Listening as much as talking (Hebrews 3:7)


a.       God will, in a sense, speak to you in the quiet time of prayer

b.      NOT in the rattle of your own talking, but in the silence that you give to Him to speak to you

c.       It is not that God will talk to you in direct revelation – that happened throughout history (spoke to prophets, moved holy men of God as they wrote down His words in Scripture), but it doesn’t now happen

d.      But when you are quietly pondering, resting, trusting, God speaks

e.       Now, if you want to hear God clearly speak to you, go to His Word in faith, and He will!


7.      Yielding to the Answer God Gives You – Trusting! (Mt 26:39; 1st John 5:14,15)


a.       “Thy will be done” is the final word

b.      You and I come to God in OUR OWN will, with our own needs and with what we think should be done

c.       We MUST leave the results to God


1)     Sometimes God says NO – probably most of the time

2)     Many times God asks us to wait

3)     But thankfully, God’s answer always is spectacular (Psalm 72:18)


d.      Examples:


1)     Paul prayed for God to take away the problem in his life that he called a “thorn in his flesh” and God said no!

2)     Job prayed for protection for his children, and God over-ruled Job’s prayer!

3)     Jesus prayed, let this cup pass from me, and God said, no!


e.       FAITH, is NOT making demands of God, and only expecting Him to do as YOU will… THAT is paganism and selfishness!

f.        Faith is depending upon God, and trusting that He will do right (Gen 18:25). He cannot do wrong! If God did everything you and I wanted, He would end up dong a lot of wrong!!!


8.      Praising God for everything you already have (Philp 4:6)- WITH thanksgiving!


a.       Praise God when He answers with a miracle

b.      And praise God when He DOESN’T give you what you asked for

c.       Part of prayer is PRAISE, and THANKING God, no matter what He does in your life!

d.      Take time to thank Him for he has already done in your life…


1)     Saved you from a devil’s hell?

2)     Given you a family?

3)     Kept you healthy all these years?

4)     Given you a Bible?

5)     Answered countless prayers already?


9.      Continuing until the answer comes (Luke 18:1; Romans 12:12; 1st Thes 5:17; Col 4:2)


a.       Patiently Wait on God for an answer

b.      Don’t start, and not finish praying

c.       Praying starts, and keeps it up until the answer comes


10.   “In Jesus’ name” – in the authority of HIS name, not yours!


a.       Example:


1)     Me:      Hello God, this is Craig Ledbetter speaking

2)     God:    Who?

3)     Me:      Craig Ledbetter

4)     God:    Who?

5)     Craig:  You know, Craig the preacher? The pastor of Bible Baptist Church of Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland? The guy married to Nita? The guy with 5 nearly perfect children! You know!

6)     God:    Who? Who is this again?

7)     Craig:  Well, I really am nobody. But your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, told me in the Bible that I could come right to your throne and ask you for help!

8)     God:    Jesus? Ah yes! He did did He? Well, that changes everything! What can I do for you?

9)     Craig:  Well, I have some prayer requests! Quite a few as a matter of fact! And some tough ones at that!

10)God:    Great! Let’s hear them!


b.      Don’t forget that Jesus said we could use His name to get what we need – HIS authority, HIS righteousness!


1)     John 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

2)     John 16:23  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

3)     John 16:24  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

4)     John 16:26  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:


11.  In a rush…


a.       Asking

b.      And trusting

c.       And Continuing to keep asking

d.      “In Jesus’ name”

e.       Will work

f.        But don’t push it


12.  Make sure you have a normal time alone with God, so that when the emergencies come, you can “rush” things, and they can get what you need from God


E.      Lastly, Prayer is All that We Need


1.      Yes, we should work our hardest!


a.       Work our jobs

b.      We should pay our bills

c.       We should love our mates and our families

d.      We should minister to one another


2.      But none of that will accomplish anything without prayer… without us spending time talking with God, and getting what we need from God!

3.      Prayer accesses and obtains what we need most - the Bible word is “availeth much”


a.       You can avail of MUCH Peace that passes understanding

b.      Grace that is all sufficient

c.       Supernatural wisdom and understanding that is greater than the greatest minds of our time

d.      Protection from all harm

e.       And most of all, real transformation – the change of US


1)     From grouch to gracious

2)     From bitter, to a blessing

3)     To anxious, to reassured

4)     From restless, to calm

5)     From fearful, to excited


f.        Let prayer work on YOU most of all! If prayer hasn’t changed you through the experience, then how can you expect it to change anything else!!!!!


4.      I know plenty of people who regret not praying, or not praying enough! But NO one has ever regretted spending their lives praying and trusting God!


III. Conclusion


A.      Prayer Is…


1.      The Desire of God. He desires to hear us pray – to hear us TALK with Him!

2.      The Delight of His People – at least it OUGHT to be (Psalm 37:4)!

3.      Prayer Is… Our ONLY Access to God – you are simply wasting your time and best efforts if you are not praying!

4.      Prayer is More than We Think it is.
It has the Following Ingredients (don’t skimp on them):


a.       It is Humility! Requires us to Humble Ourselves

b.      It is Honesty! Confess our sins, to the One we have sinned most against!

c.       It is Believing God! Believing God’s promises – Biblical desperation!

d.      It is Forgiving! Forgiving all those who have hurt YOU! (Mark 11:24-26)

e.       It is Asking! Asking for what you want (Matthew 7:7-11)

f.        It is Listening! Listening as much as talking (Hebrews 3:7)

g.       It is Yielding to the Answer God Gives You – Trusting! (Mt 26:39; 1st John 5:14,15)

h.      It is Praising God for everything you already have (Philp 4:6)- WITH thanksgiving!

i.         It is Continuing until the answer comes (Romans 12:12; 1st Thes 5:17; Col 4:2)

j.         It is “In Jesus’ name” – in the authority of HIS name, not yours!


5.     Lastly, Prayer is All that We Need


B.      Can you not start to pray like this?
Can you not find it in yourself to…


1.     Humble Yourself?

2.     Be honest with God?

3.     Believe God for everything you need?

4.     Ask Him for everything you need?

5.     Listen to God tell you what HE needs from you?

6.     Yield and Allow God to do what He thinks best?

7.     Praise God no matter what?

8.     Keep praying, never quitting, never giving up?

9.     And do it all in Jesus’ most wonderful and powerful name?


C.      THAT is when you will actually and powerfully start praying and receiving what you need from the God who delights in answering our prayers!

D.     If you find it hard to pray, it probably is because you are doing it alone, without the Holy Spirit’s help, or maybe you are not even born again!

E.      Today would be a great day to not only learn HOW to pray, but to become a child of God and start to really pray, to the God who loves you and gave Himself for you!