5 tips for effective prayer…
I love to pray.
I pray all the time, about everything.
I pray so much that I wonder if God gets tired of hearing from me.
Not really. Well… maybe a little.
I’m a self-proclaimed prayer warrior.
Because in my opinion, there is nothing more powerful that I can do than pray for people.
The thing is, my prayers look a lot different than they used to. It used to be that I spent all my prayer time asking God to meet my needs and wants and to help everything go well. It sounded something like this: “Dear God, please bless me and my family. Amen.”
Here’s why: the more I read the Word, the more I understand that prayer isn’t meant to satisfy my desires, it’s meant for me to have a way to communicate with God so that HIS purposes can be fulfilled: in my life and in the life of others.
In that way, prayer can be like a litmus test for faith. Do I desire the glory of God to be seen in my life more than anything else? Or am I living for my own earthly pleasures and satisfaction?
My prayers will reflect the condition of my heart.
If my desire for an amazing life on earth supersedes my desire for God’s will to be accomplished, my prayers will be all about me. The focus of them will be my agenda. Not that I can’t bring everything to Jesus (Philippians 4:6), because I can and should lay everything at his feet. However, I have learned to place my requests in surrender to whatever he deems best – so that he can receive the glory.
It takes a certain strength of faith to be willing to surrender everything I need and want to God and then to be thankful for whatever he provides. It’s not easy to ask for his will to be done and not my own. It has taken me years to learn how to pray this way, so I wanted to share some of my best tips with you. This is by no means an exact formula, and I am not claiming to have authority on this subject. This is just my humble opinion after delving deep into God’s word.
Here are 5 tips for effective prayer:
- Pray the Word. Abide in it. Immerse yourself in it. Drown in it. Then, speak it. The more you are in the Word, the more you will become like Jesus and develop a heart like his. When you are more like him, his desires become your desires. Psalm 37:4 says that when we delight in Him, he will give us the desires of our heart. Reading scripture helps us delight in him, and it aligns our will with his, helping us know what to pray for. What better way to pray than to use the words of Jesus? Claim his Word! He promises that when we do, he will give us what we ask for. John 15:7-8: “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!”
- Aim to bear fruit in Jesus’ name. The purpose of our prayers should be fruit bearing: for God to be seen, heard, known, revealed, and glorified in our lives. John 15:16: “You didn’t choose me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” The main goal of prayer shouldn’t be the gratification of our natural desires, but for our lives to produce fruit. When his glory is the goal, our prayers will be focused on asking for that which will accomplish the most for the kingdom, not for our own desires.
- Take a stance of surrender. Just like Jesus. He prayed in his most desperate hour: “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done and not mine” (Luke 22:42). He was willing to take his personal desires and surrender them at the feet of God, even unto death on a cross. His example for us is clear: we can ask God for what we want, but we must ultimately be willing to walk the road he has for us. In other words, “here’s what I want God, but I lay it at your feet and trust you with it. I want your plan more than I want my own gain.” It’s the ultimate act of trust; surrendering your life to his control. It’s a trust that believes his way is the best way. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or think” (Ephesians 4:20).
- Ask God to send his Spirit. The Spirit is so vital to prayer life! He intercedes for us and helps us pray for God’s will. He leads us into all truth and empowers us to carry it out. Ephesians 3:16: “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” We only need to ask for him to come and he will, bringing all the strength we need to carry out what God has for us. When we are in tune with the Spirit, we know what to pray, and we understand what we are hearing from God. Plus, we are empowered to act on it with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. That’s incredible power!
- Praise and Thank. Our prayers should be filled with praise and thankfulness for a good and perfect father, not just with requests. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done.” Colossians 4:2 echos this mindset: “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Our praise and thanks open up the communication with the Father. Psalm 100:4 promises “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” If you want to be in the presence of God during your prayers (which I do!), then the Bible tells us to praise and thank. The more you glorify him, the more you will see him working all around you…it will open your eyes to see all of the wonderful things he is doing.
There you have it: 5 ways to pray more effective kingdom prayers. This way of thinking has completely changed the way I pray. Let me leave you with example of one of my prayers today, feel free to pray it over yourself and others:
Father, I thank you for who you are and all that you have done. Thank you for knowing me by name (John 10:14) and for promising that you never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6). Thank you for guiding me down the best pathway for my life (Psalm 32:8). I pray that you would send your Spirit today, to be with me and empower me to do your will. I lay everything at your feet, and ask that your will be done. God, I also give you (whatever the concern may be) and ask that you would move in Jesus’ name. I humbly ask that you would come and fix it. But if it isn’t your will, give me your strength and your peace to walk the road you have for me instead. Thank you that you promise that you hear me when I call on you for help (Psalm 34:17). I trust you and your plan, Father. May all the glory be yours in my life. Amen.
As always, I love hearing from you! Your stories inspire me and bring glory to God. If you need prayer for any reason, message or comment below and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
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