Are you ever frustrated with your prayer life? Do you ever feel like your prayers just go unanswered? Many people do. Here are a few important steps to effective prayer, beginning with pointing out that the reason prayer isn’t very effective is because we aren’t always sure God is willing to answer us.
God wants us to know Him. We can know Him through the Word of God and prayer. Jesus gave us some guidance in Scripture: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6, NKJV). Because Jesus begins with “when you pray…” He implies that we should pray. In fact, the Apostle Paul goes a step further by saying, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:17 NKJV). It is God’s will that we pray as often as we can.
There is a method to approaching God. We are to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4, NKJV). We are to “come boldly” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV), “full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out” (Hebrews 10:22, The Message – MSG). Why are we to be confident? Because He desires us to be. But if we haven’t repented of our sins, we can’t be as confident in prayer as God desires we should be. Effective prayer involves repentance whenever needed.
God’s love for us never waivers (see Romans 8:39). His desire is to bless us, advance His plan for our lives and reveal Himself to us and through us to the world. This can only happen through an an effective prayer life. John Wesley once said, “God does nothing but by prayer and everything with it.”
We need to pray the will of God. Jesus, when asked by His disciples to teach them to pray, said this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9-10 NKJV) Come to God with praise, seeking His will in every situation in life. He sees the end from the beginning and will always respond to His children’s faithful plea.
Faith is essential; “… without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV). Sometimes prayers are not answered right away because we really haven’t been all that serious in our praying. Have you ever been so desperate for God to answer, that if He didn’t, you don’t know what you would do? Always remember, just as we passionately desire God’s attention in a matter, God passionately desires our attention to be upon Him.
Effective prayer is a means of fellowship with God. When we pursue God in prayer, we learn what His will is and we are promised, “… whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14, NKJV).
Rob Granger is Senior Pastor of Faith Harbor Church, a nondenominational church that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Escondido Columbus Hall, 515 W. Valley Parkway. His wife, Becky, serves as Co-Pastor. Videos of Pastor Rob’s sermons can be seen on YouTube by typing faith harbor church escondido ca in the YouTube search box. Visit fhcescondido.com for information about Faith Harbor Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.