NKJV - 5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
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I think that earnest prayer doesn’t have to be long, difficult or prayed in a particular ritualistic way, posture has got nothing to do with it. It is how you respond in your heart that matters Earnest in my opinion is just simply a declaration made in faith. The Bible records that Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, prayed an “earnest” prayer to God. Read the verses below and you will see why I say earnest prayer should be a declaration of faith. In the New Testament in the Book of James and in Chapter 5:17 James tells us: “Elijah… prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.” The actual account of what happened is found in: 1 Kings 17:1 – “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
Earnest praying is intelligent prayer. The word “earnest” (sophroneo) comes from a term that literally means “be in one’s right mind.” It has the idea of being under control mentally. This is the believer who thinks through and evaluates what he/she is praying about: filtering the prayer through Scripture and reason.
1. Earnest petition brings harmony and peace (Acts 12:6-7) Petition has a method of helping us to remember the guarantees of God's Word, for example, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety” (Ps.4:8), a verse I had memorized years ago to help me sleep better. 2. Earnest supplication works marvels (Acts 12:11) 3. Earnest supplication ousts evil (Acts 12:23)
In my view earnest prayer has the following characteristics: 1) it is by faith without doubt, 2) it is in accordance with God’s will, 3) it flows from zeal and spiritual fervor, 4) it is in response to who God is and what he has done, 5) it is without ceasing no matter what the circumstances, 6) it is persistent and never gives up. Consider the example of Elijah provided in another answer here. God told Elijah to pray that it would not rain, so Elijah prayed and then it did not rain for 7 years. But let’s look at the rest of this story in these verses below: “And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel” (1 Kings 18:41-46). Elijah had just exhausted himself in the battle to defeat the 400 prophets of Baal, but God also told him it was time to pray again for the rain to come. Elijah knelt before the Lord with his head between his knees and prayed. Then he asked his servant to check and see if his prayer had been answered. He continued to pray and check the result 7 times, until his servant saw the small cloud on the distance, and he knew his prayer had been answered. That is EARNEST PRAYER!
To pray earnestly means with sincere and intense conviction; seriously. Praying that GOD will and is willing to extend HIS hands to those who believe in HIM. Putting FULL TRUST that GOD will never let you down and HE will do it for HIS glory, leaving no doubts.
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