Prayer's Counterparts

The Bible constantly commends prayer. A number of references associate prayer with something else. Consider just a few of prayer’s counterparts.

Prayer and faith. “All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). “But he must ask in faith, without any doubting. . .” (James 1:6). Our faith in God is what motivates us to pray. Every request must be made in full assurance of God’s ability to grant what we ask.

Prayer and submission. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). We must have as much trust in God’s wisdom as we do in His power. That trust leads us to ask only for what is in keeping with His will, and then to graciously accept His response.

Prayer and forgiveness. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions” (Mark 11:25-26).

Prayer and watchfulness. “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 25:41). It makes no sense to pray “do not lead us into temptation” (Matthew 6:13) and then make little effort to avoid it or perhaps even hasten to places where it is the greatest. 1 Peter 4:7 links sound judgment and prayer.

Prayer and righteousness. “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (1 Timothy 2:8). The prayers of those who ignore God’s instruction are an abomination to Him (Proverbs 28:9).

Prayer and gratitude. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Prayer must never deteriorate into a mere wish list. There is so much for which we need to praise God and give thanks!

Prayer and encouragement. “Now he was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Constant com-munion with our heavenly Father keeps us focused and able to overcome doubt, fear, and discouragement. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

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