Prayer is God’s way of bringing change to your life.
According to Luke 18:1, we Christians “Should always pray and not give up.” Ephesians 6:18 tells us to “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.”
The first mention of prayer in the Bible is in Genesis 4:26 which says, “At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.” This is when God’s earliest followers began to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world by proclaiming the name of the Lord, and inviting him to intercede in their daily lives. You can do the same thing today.
Use the following four keys to improve the effectiveness of your prayer life.
Get right with God.
Begin by trusting in James 5:16 which says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” A righteous person is someone who is in a right relationship with God. The closer you are to God, the more powerful and effective your prayers.
The prophet Isaiah expresses it this way in Isaiah 59:2: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
Sin stifles prayer. This first key to a more effective prayer life is to get right with God by repenting of your sins.
Pray God’s will.
God will only do the things which are consistent with his will. He exists to fulfill his purposes, not yours or anyone else’s. Pray for his will in every circumstance.
First John 5:14-15 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
The second key is to ask anything according to God’s will. If you are not sure of God’s will in a given situation, pray, “Thy will be done.”
James 4:3 tells us why some prayer requests are not granted. The verse reads, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.”
God sees all and knows all and his motives are pure. Align all your prayer requests with his perfect will.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:7, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The tense of the Greek verbs in this verse are instructing you to ask and keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking. Note the progression from asking to seeking to knocking. God is telling you to press into him, and persevere when you pray.
Psalm 105:4 says, “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”
Picture a mountain climber pulling himself up with a rope and advancing toward the summit. All of the movement is by the climber—he is pulling himself up and not pulling the summit down. This is a metaphor for your prayer life. Prayer pulls you up, moves you closer to God, and prepares you for his answer.
Believe in God’s answer.
This final key is to believe in God for his answer that is sure to come.
Jesus declares this fact in the following two gospel passages. Matthew 21:22: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer,” and Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Charles Stanley, Bible teacher and pastor, says God has the following four answers to your prayers: yes, no, wait, or in the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
God is your Good Father and he will always do what is best for you in response to your prayers.