How to have effective prayers



Keep God’s commandments

Isaiah 59:1-3 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. {2} But your iniquities (ie sins) have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. {3} For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.

1 Jn 3:21­22 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. (NIV)

Be free from anger and resentment

1 Tim 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (NIV)

Mt 5:23­24 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (NIV)

Motives must be right

Jas 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (NIV)

Pray in Jesus’ name

John 16:24 (NIV) Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

To ask in His name means to ask in His authority and on His merit. Just as the Father will answer Jesus’ every request, He too will answer our request if we ask in Jesus’ name.

Pray according to His will

1 Jn 5:14­15 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us– whatever we ask– we know that we have what we asked of him. (NIV)

Lk 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (NIV)

Even to the last minute before His death, Jesus prayed that God’s will be done and not His.

Our prayers can be effective if we pray according to God’s will. One sure way to pray according to His will is to pray the Word of God. If we pray the Bible, we can’t be praying contrary to God’s will. The Bible is full of prayers that we can personalize for our own use. For example, Psalms 23 can be used to commit your work situation to God.

LORD, You are my shepherd, I shall not be in want of anything at work. I know You will fully equip me. Even though I am experiencing great turmoil at the office, I know You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me beside quiet waters, {3} You restores my soul. When I am tempted to compromise my situation, Lord I pray that You will guide me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. {4} Lord I commit my work problems into your hands. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. {5} I know You will not allow the people in my office to harm me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. {6} Lord I pray for your blessings in the area of my work. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Pray believing in answers

Jas 1:6­7 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; (NIV)

Be persistent

Lk 11:5­10 5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 “Then the one inside answers, `Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

Matthew 7:7­8 (NIV) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

The verbs “ask”, “seek” and “knock” are all in present continuous tense. In other words, keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking.

Daring to ask

Genesis 18:23­32 (NIV) Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing­­to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?” “If I find forty­five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” 29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

Following what Jesus taught about prayer

It goes without saying that when Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, He would have taught them a method of effective prayer.
Read more about the Lord’s Prayer

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