It is called a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, not a passing association, not a cordial friendship, it is meant to be a deeply personal relationship unlike any other that you have. No one is to be placed above Him, your love for anyone on this planet, no matter who it is, is not to be given to anyone other than Him in its depth. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
This is the greatest hindrance to nearly every believer, not giving up those things in their life they know to be displeasing to Him, not even the forfeiture of the material goods they have accumulated over time, but the knowledge that they are to love Him above even their own beloved child, over their spouse and parents, over everyone. It is one of the greatest fallacies that many religious organizations hold at the top of the list, if you will, that family comes above everything, not Christ. “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matt. 19:29)
The majority of believers prayers I think revolve around themselves, for safety, security, health, nearly every prayer offered to the Lord from many concerns their own welfare, of course there are tossed in with these prayers for others, but most generally we are concerned with our own needs. Even churches that are considered Evangelical have come to a place where a large part of the morning service that has been set apart for prayer have found themselves spending this time asking the Lord for healing of individuals, of generalized prayers based on individualized, what-we-call needs. There is a very fine line that I dare not cross here, for although the truth is self-evident, it is not always welcomed.
I have found peace in my own life in this area in only one way of prayer, and I believe it emulates the Lord Jesus the best that we possibly can with our limited spiritual recognition of the Sovereignty of God, and it is this. Not my will, but Thine. My prayers for those who have needs, no matter what they are, for they are always personal or they would not be seeking for prayer, is that they would come to the knowledge of the truth to be willing to accept the will of the Lord in their prayers above all. This is much different than what seems to be the acceptance, if you please, of the will of the Lord in many individuals lives, they pray, they hope, and then they wait to see what the Lord will do instead of expecting Him to answer as they have requested, it seems too forward to them, too demanding. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25)
If you do not believe you are going to receive what you ask for, then do not ask.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24) Not hoping, not trying to bend God to your will, not waiting to see how He will respond, believing. The Scriptures command it, the Word of God is clear, if you do not believe that you will receive what you have asked for, then you are like the “wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6)
We demand nothing from the Most High, but we do expect Him to honor His word, and He will, if you ask in faith, if you believe in His provision, but not if you come feebly instead of humbly before Him, boldly to the throne of grace, (Heb. 4:16) but in great humility, willing to submit to His will at all times, but firmly, in love, respect, and the honor due Him. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6) This is the fine line that many Christians will not cross, they will not look upon Him as a Father who loves them dearly and above all measure, they refuse to look upon Christ as their brother and fellow heir to the kingdom and all its glories, (Romans 8:17) they will not see the Holy Spirit as anything more than a comforter to assist them when their lives are in turmoil.
Start your prayers with praise, ask Him for something, give Him thanks, then expect not only to be heard, but answered. Immediately? Sometimes, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24) Waiting patiently for many years? Sometimes. That matters little, what matters is that your faith is in Christ, that you believe on the promises that we have been given, that we will be heard, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” (1 John 5:14)
How do you know the Lord wants that person to be healed, maybe He wants them to stay in the position they are in so they will rely on Him even more, thy will be done, what we are to pray for people is not just that they would be healed form whatever illness or travail that has come upon them, but that they would glory in the knowledge that His will is always being done in their lives if they are truly one of His children. This will bring more peace and joy into their hearts and soul than any healing ever could. Proof? “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15)
Always pray, pray without ceasing, (1 Thess. 5:17) always expect your prayers to be answered, plan them out, never just attempt to rush into the throne room of the Most High unannounced and without much thought beforehand, be wise in your prayers, be direct, be humble, and with great reverence and wonder, expect the Lord God to honor His promises. The acceptance of His will is a much greater reward than just saying, “Thy will be done.” He is waiting patiently, ask what you will, but ask in faith, believing you will receive what is best for you and will bring the greatest glory to Him.