How to Pray Effectively

Listen to how Daniel bases his great prayer of confession in Daniel 9:

For we are not presenting our petitions before You based on our righteous acts, but upon Your abundant compassion (v. 18).

What fools we would be to come before God and intimate that He must hear and grant our petitions because of our righteousness!

Yet there are those who seem to think otherwise. They see themselves over against the grosser sin of others and believe that God, therefore, has an obligation to respond favorably to their requests. Oh, they rarely put it in those terms, but it is in their hearts whenever they compare themselves to others and thereby think God must answer their prayers.

There is another more subtle way in which they often bring their requests that goes something like this: “Lord, we are your people, so You must grant our prayers.”

Subtle, I say because we may always sincerely pray that God’s Name (which He has wrapped up in the welfare of His people) is at stake, and it is always right to plead with Him for His Name’s sake—when we sincerely mean it!  But so often, sincerity seems to be lacking. There is, however, when confessing one’s sin as Daniel confesses his and that of his nation, a genuine way to plead for a hearing in the Name of the Lord. That is, we may base our prayer upon God’s great mercy. This, believers know about because of what Christ has done for them. And it places petitions where they belong—upon God’s goodness and compassion; not upon anything worthy in us.

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