How to Pray

Church of Christ ScriptureDo you know how to pray?

Most people just assume that it comes naturally, but Jesus had to teach His disciples how to pray. He said in Matt 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” In these verses, Jesus gives three “steps” to prayer. It should be noted that the words Jesus used are ‘continuing action’ words so when He says:

Ask – He means keep on asking. Take everything to the Lord; nothing is too small to pray about.
Seek – He means keep on looking for answers in His word and in the happenings around you.
Knock – He means keep on knocking. Be persistent. Don’t give up if the answer seems slow.

Many people think of prayer only in terms of asking for something. They lay out their desires and then sit back and wait for something to happen. But prayer is not just asking and receiving, but includes the giving of thanks and praise to God. We should take every concern to the Lord in prayer, but we must do so remembering that He knows what is best and will answer according to His will. Our part is to keep on asking until we receive an answer, one way or the other. Remember the parable of the widow and the unjust judge in Luke 8:1-8. The Lord will sometimes delay an answer until we are ready to receive it spiritually. If we are unstable in our attitudes, if we harbor resentment and bitterness, or if we refuse to forgive others – our prayers will be hindered. (James 4:1-3) A delay in answering may also be a test of our faith – will we keep on asking, seeking, knocking? Will we continue to trust even if the answer seems to be delayed?

The Bible never says that prayer will be easy. Satan works to spread doubts, fears, and distractions of all kinds. And remember that God did not promise to give us everything we ask for, instead He promised to give us “good gifts’ and the things that we ‘need’. God loves you too much to give you something that would ultimately harm you, or pull you away from Him. If we are His children, if we have obeyed His commands and had our sins washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16), then when we go to the Father, we will receive an answer if we continue to ask, seek, and knock! Eph 4:12 “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

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Devotional about baptism and what it really means through the words of the bible.


Are There Limits on Satan

Arlington church of Christ, Cincinnati, OhioSomeone asked the question: Why does God allow Satan to still attack us, while 2Pet 2:4 tells us that angels that sinned were put into dungeons to be held until judgment? Why doesn’t God lock Satan away too?

The bible scriptures tell us in 1Pet 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan is still roaming the earth, unlike the sinning angels. Peter warns us to be on guard against him. But just because he is roaming around doesn’t mean that God has no control over him. Remember what God told Satan in the book of Job – twice, God allowed Satan to do certain things to Job as tests, but God always set limits on Satan. Job 1:12 “The Lord said to Satan,’Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” And again in Job 2:6 “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’” While Satan was given leeway to do certain things, he did not have the power to go beyond the limits set by God.

Even now, God has put limits on the temptations that Satan can afflict us with. 1Cor 10:13 tells us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Satan is allowed to tempt us, and some of the temptations may be very hard to overcome, but God has put His limits in place so that we will be able to resist the temptation if we look for the way out that God provides. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So Satan too is limited, although currently not in the same way those sinning angels are.

So why is Satan still allowed to tempt us at all? For the same reason that he was allowed to tempt Eve in the garden – God always allows us to choose our course of action. We were created with free will, the ability to choose what we will do. If we choose to follow God, then He is honored and receives glory. If we choose to disobey and sin, then God is offended and separated from us by our sin. Isa 59:1-2 We are part of a great battle between the forces of God and those who have rejected God’s authority and chosen to follow Satan. Those on each side are watching the conflict and observing how we respond to the challenges laid before us.

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