Conventional wisdom compels you to move closer to God through human effort and sounds something Like this, “if I could just straighten myself out, I would have a closer relationship with God and everything would be ok”. This inverted approach to thinking and prayer invariably falls short because we place the cart before the horse. The power of prayer can be blocked out by our sinful natures thus hindering our prayers.
Antithetically the Gospel of Jesus Christ redirects this misguided instinct of “striving for security” into surrender that results in a right relationship with Him. For this reason, it is sometimes a good idea to first confess our sins before God before moving on to the petition part of prayer. The power of prayer rests in the hands of God almighty, which is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ and is activated through the power of the Holy Spirit. Unblocking the Holy Spirit that resides in us through confessing our sins to God before moving into the petition is a practice largely ignored in many Christian circles.
In many instances, prayer and worship is reduced to the holy duet of the Father and the Son, which leaves out and/or diminishes the power of the Holy Spirit. Let me explain, in some sects of Christianity an under-emphasis of the Holy Spirit has occurred due to a fear of wrongly worshipping God, and the assumption is that if we encourage the gifts and empowerment of the Holy Spirit improperly, we will invite in the unholy spirit which is (Satan). This presupposition is based upon fear and in my estimation is not of God at all.
My contention is if we can overcome fear, pride, and resentment we will unblock and ignite our prayer life through the power the Holy Spirit, then our communication with God will no longer be hindered and flow through us more effectively. This is why we need to understand the essential tenets of prayer so that we approach God with a reverent confidence that leads us into right relationship with our triune God of: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Below are two acronyms to help us remember how we can pray more meaningfully, the first one is CATS which intended to glorify our triune God and boost your prayer life. The other acronym is DOGS which depicts our sin nature and typifies the wrongful prayer exemplified by the Pharisees and countless others. Remember these acronyms as you go forward into prayer and into a right relationship with God.
Prayer in our new nature in Christ that leads to humility.
Confession- rigorous honesty with God along with repentance leads to forgiveness and authentic relationship with Him
Adoration- leads to love which covers a multitude of sins
Thanksgiving- a thankful heart is not crowded out with envy and is free to express joy to God
Supplication- surrender your heart and your will to God and He will grant you victory in Christ Jesus.
Prayer in our old nature that is a result of our sinful pride
Dogmatic- legalistic petitions that leads to failure in your own power
Ostentatious- Showy and attention seeking prayer that diminishes God’s glory
Grandiose- prideful prayers puffed-up with vain imaginations
Self-seeking- prayers that takes no account of the welfare of others.