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Prayer needs to have three essential ingredients. If any of these are missing, its quite possible that we’re not in tune with God’s purposes and will for us.
(1) Humility. As in the case of forgiveness where we need to be reminded each and every day of God’s mercy on our behalf, humility requires the same daily “reality check”. Its too easy for us to forget that we DO NOT deserve to be before God’s mercy seat. Once we’re in the right state of heart and mind, and we accept our “recovering sinner” status, then we will be received with open arms by our Heavenly Father.
(2) Repentance. Being aware of heart’s deepest intentions; regardless of what we’re praying for, demands that we seek God’s pleasure and will, not ours—NO matter what. Our hearts must seek His righteousness & we must be sincere with our brokenness. We must express love for others (including our enemies) in our prayers. If we don’t seek the LORD’s will & pleasure, we are not praying in Spirit and Truth.
(3) Expectations. Our expectations must be God’s expectations for whatever it is that we are lifting up to the Him in thanksgiving. If we go before the LORD with our anxieties, agendas, expectations and so-called “hopes”, we are, in essence, telling God that we don’t trust Him to make the very best decision for our lives and for those we’ve brought before Him in prayer.