In the previous article, we started talking about learning how to pray effectively. we learnt that when we come into the place of prayer, we need to have the right attitude. We need to come with relationship in mind, having an attitude of humble confidence, and a willingness to allow the Holy Spirit direct your prayers. We are going to discuss two other aspects of praying effectively in this article.
2. The Principles of Prayer – What should i know about prayer?
- Pray in Faith: James 5:15 says “and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” The volume, intensity and passion displayed during prayer would be meaningless if it is not backed up by faith. When I say faith, I do not mean stubbornness, neither am i referring to rude-pride. Faith is not all about having your way with God, it is about allowing God to have His way with you. Jesus modeled the prayer of faith when He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He had a particular heart desire, but was also willing to submit to the will of God on the matter. Faith therefore, it bending your will in trust to God’s will; it is trusting that God knows what He is doing and that He is able and willing to bring His intentions to reality in your life.
- Pray in the name of Jesus: In John 14:13, Jesus made an incredible promise. He said “And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son.” Many people have made the mistake of assuming that praying in the name of Jesus is just about adding “IN JESUS’ NAME” to the end of their prayers. In reality, praying in Jesus name means acting as His representative. Acting as Jesus’ representative means that the person calling on His name is in a close relationship with Him and wants what He wants. If you aren’t in close relationship with Christ and have desires that are diametrically opposed to His, then it doesn’t matter how loud you shout His name! If you pray correctly in the name of Jesus, you can be sure that your prayers will be answered.
- Pray with the right understanding of Scriptures. There are many popular cliches and themes we use in prayers that are absolutely useless and unscriptural. If you keep praying with these babbles and falsities, your prayer time would be wasted time. For example, what is the scriptural backing for praying with the “Holy Ghost fire” or for asking your enemies to “fall down and die”?
3. The Practicalities of Prayer – How should I pray?
- Pray clearly and persuasively. When praying, it is important to be sure of what you are asking God about. Make your thoughts clear. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it shall be given unto you….” Asking implies clarity and specificity. Don’t go beating about the bush. Remind Him of His word, explaining how you know His word backs up your request; remind Him of how His Character supports your request and how answered prayers would bring glory to His name.
- Ask, don’t complain. Many times, we spend hours on our knees complaining instead of asking. Like the Israelites, we are usually so busy talking about all the issues in our lives. Complaining is an act of faithlessness and it annoys God. In the place of prayer, complaining is counter-productive. The Bible tells us in James 4:2 that “…you have not because you ask not…”. Just ask God what you need.
- Avoid vain repetition: Matt 6:7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” Too many Christians are guilty of this. We seem to unnecessarily complicate our prayers by using needless words to elongate the prayers. Worse still is the addition of babbles in the guise of speaking in tongues. Prayer is a conversation with God. Don’t talk to God as though He is not intelligent.