EFFECTIVE PRAYER

EFFECTIVE PRAYER

GOAL:  To understand how to effectively touch the Throne Room, learn the heart of the Lord and to be able to hear Him speak to us through our prayers. – By Bobbi Reed

            We all want our prayers to be effective! When we focus on the results of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer. We can speak to the Creator of the universe; that is an amazing thing. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach Him to worship and pray. He died without sin so that we can ask for forgiveness and health. He died for our sins, so that we can ask forgiveness for the sins that we commit. It is such an amazing gift He gave to us. Prayer can be powerful when we learn how to use it.
            The Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Lord.  Having effective prayer has more to do with the heart in us than it does with how we are to pray.  The Scripture tells us that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. It tells us  the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers. We can see numerous examples in the Scriptures that show us that prayer greatly affected things that happened. Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much! 
            Prayer is something believers should do all the time, every day. When we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith, with thanksgiving, with a spirit of forgiveness toward others. It’s the strength of our faith, not the length of our prayers that pleases Him. We don’t need to impress God with our eloquence or intelligence.  God knows what our needs are even before we ask. It is important to Him that we come humbly and gratefully to Him.
            It is very important that we have a heart that is right before God when we come to him to pray Having unconfessed sin in our hearts when we pray, can certainly be an hindrance to effective prayer. When we confess our sins, the Lord will forgive them. We can ask God in our prayers to show us sin that we do not know of  and ask Him to forgive it. We need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want. We can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture. When we don’t know what to pray, Paul reminds us that as God’s children we can rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for us.  Since the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, the Spirit’s prayer is always in keeping with the will of the Father. Sometimes we are hurting so badly that it is hard for us to even talk with the Lord. At these times, just call on the name of Jesus. Call His name out for He knows what is in our hearts. He knows our heartaches and disappointments. If we have been gifted in the language of tongues, pray in that language if you cannot find the words to pray. God loves to have a conversation with His children and loves that we are coming to Him. The words are not as important as your heart is
            Another barrier to effective communication with God is praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. Be careful what you are praying for and as mentioned earlier, always pray God’s will over your life. We are not to worship idols, reject God’s call or turn a deaf ear to the poor. These also serve as additional obstacles to an effective prayer life. Be grateful and thankful for all that the Lord is doing and has done in the past.
            Effective prayer is a way to strengthen our relationship with our Father in heaven. When we study and obey His Word and seek to please Him, God invites us to come boldly before Him and to pray with confidence. He promises that He will extend His mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t have an answer to your prayers right away. Many times He is working things out in the background that you do not know about. Remember, a delayed answer is not a NO! Also remember if there is a no it is because He is omnipresent and can see your future. He knows many times what lies ahead and we do not. He is always going to do what is BEST for us and protect us. He truly knows what is best for us so we can totally trust Him.
            Effective prayer is prayer that we know God hears. We understand that the heart of the person affects the effectiveness of prayer. God’s ears are open to those that are righteous. We need to be constantly looking at our life and examining what we need to ask God’s forgiveness for. Keeping our heart pure and humble allows our prayers to be heard. A simple definition of godly righteousness is doing what God says is right.

             We need to understand that God’s ears are open not only to the cries of the righteous, but also to those who want to be right in God’s sight. Those who see that they are not living as they should and deeply desire to change. Those who are searching for answers and searching for God will come to repentance. They will want to live to please God.  God clearly says the prayers of a righteous person are effective and powerful but He mainly sees our heart.

            All of God’s commandments and laws are from God’s mind. The commandments and laws of God reflect God’s very nature of love.  They reveal what God says is the right way He wants us to live.

God deeply desires for human beings to grow to love Him with all of their heart, mind, life (soul) and strength, and to show their love by obeying Him. He wants total surrender from all of us.

            For prayer to be effective, we need to speak to our Father as we would speak in a conversation. We are speaking to Him about many things He and we are concerned about. In addition, for effectiveness in prayer, we must not let our thoughts wander while we are praying. While praying, it is easy to begin thinking about other things. This happens to me often, as there is always so much going on in our lives. So much bombards my mind at any given time. It is very easy to be in prayer and get led astray with my thoughts.

            There is no magical formula or words that make prayer effective and powerful. I cannot stress enough, that praying to God needs to be an open conversation. We are in a personal relationship with our Lord, so our conversations should reflect that. Conversational prayers not set rote prayers are more effective.  I am not talking about praying Scriptures. I am saying that many times we have set prayers that we pray for each situation; that we have been taught. Having an open conversation, again, is a very important part of effective prayer.

            We should be quoting God’s Word in our prayers. It is to remind us along with showing God that we are standing in and believing His Word in faith.  When we quote scriptures, they further get down into our heart and into our mind of remembrance. This makes our prayers so much more powerful.  It is perfectly alright to remind God what He says in His Word when we are praying.

            Like every part of the Christian life, prayer is a growth process. If you are just beginning to build a relationship with God, realize that He is loving and patient. He wants to hear from you, and He will help you grow in righteousness and effectiveness.  As we walk in our path and grow in Him, we will see our prayers reflect that.  It is like a child that is learning something for the first time. As the child matures and does it more often, it will change. As our personal relationship with the Lord grows, so will how we pray.

            The spirit of God’s commandments and laws describes how God wants us to be. For example, we should be totally honest, trustworthy and dependable. We are to focus on obedience, for truly if we are wanting God’s will; this is so important. In seeking God’s commands through His Word, we learn more about God. We become more humble as we come to know God and His Word. When it is all said and done, God’s will is first and foremost. Understand that some of what you pray will not be His will and we have to accept that. Again, He sees ahead into our future and He knows what is best for us.

            Something that is also an important part of effective prayer is getting to know God’s heart. We are not just to barrage Him with requests when we are praying. Along with restating scriptures, we are to continue to learn God’s heart. This is done first by studying and memorizing His Word. Secondly, this is done by spending time listening to God. When we pray all of our time should not be speaking to Him. This is an important concept and I am sure that many Christians have not thought about this. This is something that I only recently learned more about, and I have been a Christian for many years. Like I said earlier, we are in a relationship with Him. It is not a one-sided relationship, it goes two ways. It makes sense that we should get to know His heart and His will.  This is an important ingredient to a close, personal relationship with God.

            We talk a lot about hearing from God. We are not going to hear from Him if we don’t set up time for Him to speak to us. Unless we are quiet, we cannot hear Him. As in any other relationship, it should be a two-way conversation. Make sure you are leaving some time to remain silent and to just listen. He desires to speak to us, and if we are not quiet, we will not hear Him. It is really important that we hear God, as He has wisdom and guidance for us. We will learn more about God’s heart as we listen.  I will go one step further and strongly suggest that we write down what we are hearing from Him. We can reference it later, because we surely will not remember it all. We also can look back at it later and see how our relationship has grown and what God has done for us. It truly builds our faith and our relationship with Him. It is one of the most wonderful parts of being close to Him.

            Another important part of our prayer is intercessory prayer. This is where we are interceding for the needs of someone else. This is very often a part of our prayers, and we should always be open to pray for others. It doesn’t have to be long, drawn out or pretty. God hears the cries of our heart, so lift others up, ask Him to take care, heal, and protect them. The Word talks about that the more that are praying for any one given situation, the more powerful it is. Always be willing to be in agreement with others when there are needs. The world is a very confusing and hurtful place and prayer works.  Always be ready to pray for others and with others.

            Another one of the most important parts of an effective prayer is gratitude. We should always be walking in gratitude, focusing on what we have as opposed to what we don’t. I know this is difficult since it seems to be easier to focus on what we are lacking in our minds. It causes a lot of discontent and negativity, so consciously focus on what you have and have been given. Ask for those things you still need, but be so grateful for what you have.  Negativity is running rampant in our world. Part of a positive attitude is gratefulness. I believe that we should start out our prayers with thanking the Lord for ALL He has done for us. It focuses our minds on how much He has blessed us with, and takes away our focus on what we think we need.

STUDY QUESTIONS:

  1. What does it mean that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective?
  2. Have you ever felt like God was not listening to your prayers? Does Him not answering your prayer mean He is saying no to you? What could a “no” mean?
  3. What does it mean to “pray the scriptures”?
  4. Are you being grateful at all times and incorporating thankfulness in your prayers, or are they mostly asking God for things?
  5. What does it mean to learn the heart of the Lord? Why is this important?
  6. Do you leave time at the end of your prayers for silence in order for God to speak to you?
  7. What does it mean to do intercessory prayer? How can we effectively pray for others?
  8. Does the length of a prayer matter?
  9. When should we pray and how often?
  10. Should we be totally open and honest with our God? Should we be totally transparent with Him?
  11. Should we write down the things that God speaks to us?
  12. Should we after each of our prayers remember to say “God’s Will”? Why is this important?

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Have a journal that you can write down dates and what God speaks to you. Leave a space under that to later come back and put notes on how and when it was shown/completed.
  2. Make sure that you are starting your day with God’s Word and in prayer.
  3. Don’t forget to pray the scriptures; remind God of what He has said in his Word.
  4. Remember to finish your prayers with “God, may your will be done”.
  5. Always remember to be grateful to God for all things, even His “no” to our prayer requests. He could be waiting to give you something even bigger and better than what you originally asked for. Trust in the the Lord and His provisions for your life.

SCRIPTURES:

Philippians 4:6-9

James 5:16-18

Romans 8:26-28

1 Corinthians 14:4-6

1 Samuel 1:9-18

Psalm 57:1-5

Lamentations 2:19

Psalm 55:1=7