What Prayer Does and How to Do it

God gave us prayer to be the primary means by which we communicate and connect to Him. Psalm 4 gives us insight on prayer and how to do it. Read these eight verses and note what prayer accomplishes and how we are to act as we seek the Lord in prayer.

Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have given me relief when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
    ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

What Prayer Does


The first thing to note is that prayer connects people in need to a holy God. From the smallest need to the greatest, prayer allows us to bring our thoughts, burdens, and petitions to a loving, holy, all-powerful God who works all things together for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Prayer gives relief to us when we are in distress. As we bring these burdens to God, His peace settles on us as we trust in Him. Philippians 4:6 gives a promise, “let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Finally, prayer helps us to wait on the Lord. As we wait, we are reminded of God’s love for us, and that he sets apart(makes holy) the godly for himself.

How to Pray

As we look at the rest of the Psalm, we are guiding in how we are to act in prayer. You can be upset when you call to God, but do not sin. From verse 4, wee can bring God our doubt, confusion, frustration and anger, but we are to honor Him above all. Also, take time to think on who God is, what He has done, and what He may be doing. Ponder and meditate on our God who loves us and works things together. We are also to worship God while you wait. “Offer right sacrifices,” and trust in God. While Jesus is our ultimate sacrifice (we don’t offer up animals anymore), the Bible declares, “to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Also, from Psalm 51:17, “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart.” Trust in the goodness of God, and be content. From verse seven, we can praise and thank God for having Him above everything. We are blessed (content, joyful) because we have our greatest need fulfilled: a restored relationship with our Creator because of His love through the sacrifice of Jesus his Son, our Savior and Lord. Even if we lost everything, we still have more than enough because we have God. Finally, we are to rest in God as we seek him in prayer. God gives us his peace as we trust in him.

May God remind us of his faithfulness to us, his sovereignty, and his love as we seek him in prayer.


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