How to Pray with Joy

Note from Nancy Ruth: The terrorist attack on Paris resonates strongly with me. We live and work in Oklahoma which was attacked on April 19, 1995. Several good friends of mine were at the Wedgwood Church shooting September 16, 1999. I had family working in New York City on September 11, 2001. I had family working in Paris, France, on Friday, November 13, 2015. Thankfully, none of my family members were injured or killed, but there is something that changes in you when attacks hit so close to home. In light of these and similar events, it is good to step back and remember that we still have reasons to be thankful. See this sermon by the pastor of Wedgwood Church for an excellent answer to the question “Where was God?


What about my needs and all these things that are happening in my life?  I care about other people, their problems and lives, what about them?  I know that God wants me to pray, but the question is:

Joy in prayer

What should be included in my prayers?  An answer to this question can be found in Philippians 4:4-7:

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Our salvation earned for us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, received by faith, is eternal (never ends) and is our most precious possession.  Our prayers should express this joy with thanksgiving.  We are also instructed to present all our present-day cares and concerns with our petitions (requests) to Jesus in prayer.

God answers prayers.  Jesus tells us in Mark 11:24, 25:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV)

Jesus emphasizes believing and praying in faith with a pure heart.

Apostle Paul as our example

Paul’s joy is expressed in Philippians 3:7-9:

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (NIV)

Paul’s prayers reflect this joy in Christ.  He prays for fellow Christians in Colossians 1:3, 4:

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints.” (NIV)

Our closing prayer should include thankfulness for the joy of our salvation and other answered prayers, plus we need to place all of our cares and concerns on His shoulders asking for direction and guidance.

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