What if I could tell you the secret of prayer? What if I could pull back the spiritual veil and reveal how prayer works, why it works, and how you can be confident in your prayers?
What if I could give you a system that would guarantee that every prayer you say is answered exactly the way you want it? Would you be interested in that?
Unfortunately, no one can give such answers. Prayer doesn't work like that. There are no tricks or hidden systems. In many ways, prayer doesn't always make sense.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Scripture has nothing to say about prayer. Prayer is essential to the Christian life, and therefore many verses emphasize the subtle nuances of this spiritual activity.
There is a biblical and faithful way in which we are called to pray, and praying in this way certainly releases the power of the Spirit in our intercessions. Here are three things we must keep in mind if we want to strengthen our prayers.
1. Ask right
Sometimes we think that the effectiveness of prayer is related to what we ask or say. However, the Holy Scriptures speak more clearly aboutaswe pray.
James writes: “You want something but you can't get it, so you kill it. You want, but you can't have what you want, so you argue and argue. You don't have it because you don't seek God. When you order, you don't get it because you order wrong" (Tiago 4:3).
James is writing to Christians who are praying for the fulfillment of their needs or desires. Whilewhatthat they prayed for might have been good, even holy, James could see thatasthey prayed that it was somehow wrong.
Prayer is more than the words we say. We cannot strengthen our prayers simply by saying the right words, even if those words are "in the name of Jesus". Longer prayers are not more effective prayers either. Jesus is actually talking about how hypocritical prayer is based only on a multitude of words.
He says: “When you pray, do not speak empty words like the heathen; because they think that they will be heard on account of their many words.Don't be like them, because your Father knows what you need even before you ask (Mateus 6,7-8 See More).
At its core, prayer should be a connection to the flow of the Spirit and the work of the Kingdom.
Asking right doesn't mean finding the right set of words to say in our requests. We can use the right words and still be self-centered in our requests. True prayer occurs when the words we speak spring from a faithful response to God.
Ultimately, prayer is rooted in our longing for God. We rightly ask when we ask for the desire that God's presence and power be revealed.
This is why the request "Thy will be done" is placed before the request for "our daily bread" (Matthew 6:10-11). The desire to further the kingdom of God is, first of all, the first step in strengthening our prayers.
2. Live the right way
We cannot pray one way but live another. Prayer comes from a life lived in devotion to God, who is accountable to the Holy Spirit. As Christians, the direction and focus of our lives is directed toward following the path of Jesus, not vainly seeking our own greatness.
In his criticism of the Pharisees, Jesus describes how they like to "stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, to be seen by others" (Matthew 6:5). Self-centered prayers are rarely imbued with the power of the Spirit.
While we often pray for our needs and desires, prayer isn't really about getting what we want - it's about living in connection with Jesus. The true aim of all prayer is to reveal the power of God in our lives.
A life that believes that God's role is to maximize our pleasures and our desires is completely at odds with the very ethic of prayer.
We can use the right words, but we will never experience the full power of God in prayer because our lives basically run in the opposite direction. God also wants our lives to move in the direction of the Spirit, and whenever we pray, we open ourselves to that movement.
A life based on a faithful relationship with Christ is fundamentally different from a life focused only on our pleasures.
Jacob describes this life as a life "from above which is pure, peaceful, attentive, submissive, reasonable, and full of good fruits" (Tiago 3:17).
In fact, James uses the exact same word as John inIvan 3:16. Living the right way is equal to living a born-again life. A born-again life is one that is lived in the power of the Holy Spirit and in an active relationship with Jesus.
3. Have a true heart
When we think about "asking right" or "living right," it can be easy to reduce these things to a system.religion. That's what the Pharisees and Sadducees did.
Finding the right one was thought to be nothing more than using the right phrases and expressions; living the right way meant following the law as closely as possible.
However, in their desire to follow the system they created, they failed to have a heart drawn out by love for their Lord. As the old saying goes,the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.
As Christians, we should be connected to God with a heart of devotion, service and praise. Behind every prayer there is a spirit that says, "Here I am." I receive your will and purpose.”
Prayer does not bring God closer to us; prayer leads us to God. Therefore, all prayer must be a desire for a deeper experience of the lordship of Christ. This is how Paul can write that we need "pray without ceasing”(1 Thessalonians 5:16).
Rather than describing an endless shopping list presented to God, Paul highlights a heart that continually strives for Jesus. The surest way to fortify our prayers with the Spirit is for our hearts to be set on fire by the Spirit's presence. We live our lives in prayer.
Why is it important?
There is nothing that pleases God more than the possibility of answering our petitions. Of course, asking right, living right, and having your heart turned to Jesus does not guarantee that God will grant every request.
Every Christian will have to struggle with unanswered prayers. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. And despite our best efforts and sincere faith, our prayers are never the magic wand that makes life suit our desires.
But that doesn't mean we can't pray. Indeed, we are called to be bold in our prayers. God is the one who hears us and answers before we call on him (Isaiah 65:24).
Furthermore, unyielding grace surrounds our prayers. There is no need, passion, or desire that we cannot lift up to God in prayer.
So pray faithfully and biblically, but pray boldly. You can feel that you are experiencing the power of the Spirit in a glorious way.
For further reading:
4 reasons why prayer time is unique for Christians
What is prayer? Why do we pray?
5 tools to develop your prayer life
Photo credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/MangoStar_Studio
Rev. Dr. Kyle Normanis rector of St. Paul's Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada. He has a doctorate in spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writings can be found at Christianity.com,pedestrian crossing.com,ibelieve.com, Renovare Canada and many others. He also maintains his own blog.revkylenorman.ca. He has 20 years of pastoral experience and his ministry is focused on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.
3 ways to strengthen your prayers? ›
Praise, pardon, and petition are three essential elements of prayer that we will encounter in our journey through the Lord's Prayer.What are the 3 things needed in prayer? ›
Praise, pardon, and petition are three essential elements of prayer that we will encounter in our journey through the Lord's Prayer.What are the 3 powerful prayers? ›
The prayer of protection. The prayer of transformation. The prayer of restoration.What are the 3 answers to prayer? ›
Yes, No, and Wait! Those are the three possible answers to your prayers, so says conventional wisdom. I have thought a lot about the three-compartment answer‑‑ yes, no, and wait.What are the 4 rules of prayer? ›
They are based on a well-known format: A.C.T.S. = adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.What are the 3 powerful prayers in the Bible? ›
These three powerful morning prayers are the prayers of thanksgiving, the Lord's Prayer, and the prayer of Jabez. Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, the Bible tells us to enter his gates with thanksgiving, and Jabez prayed to God and God granted him his request.What makes a prayer strong? ›
Powerful prayer is not about you and what you are able to do; it's about the power that lives inside of you. Connecting to that power and the truth of what Jesus did on the cross is what empowers your prayers. By joining your faith with the Holy Spirit, you will move mountains. Now, that is powerful prayer!What is a strong prayer to God? ›
I pray to you as I am desperate for help. I need to know that you care, that you love me, be my refuge from pain, replacing my distress with peace, and be my strength when I feel weak and find it hard to carry on.What are the levels of prayer? ›
Ask, Seek and Knock; basically, 1st level = Salvation & Supplication / 2nd level = Transformation & Meditation / 3rd level Confirmation & Exaltation.What is the golden rule of prayer? ›
When others around me don't practice it? Prayer: Lord God, you have given us the key to living in your kingdom through this simple but profound rule. Help me to always do to others whatever I would want them to do to me.
What are the five stages of prayer? ›
- Step 1: Adoration. “Hallowed be your name” The first line of this prayer is profound. ...
- Step 2: Consecration. ...
- Step 3: Supplication. ...
- Step 4 in Prayer: Intercession. ...
- Step 5 in Prayer: Protection.
It is called the "Jesus Prayer", and it consists simply in uttering the single word "Jesus" (or "Lord Jesus", or "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner") in any situation, at any time and place, either aloud or silently.What is the basic prayer rule? ›
A prayer rule is a set of prayers that is said every single day without fail. Most of the time, it is said in the morning and the evening, with shorter prayers, such as the Jesus Prayer, used throughout the day in addition to a prayer before meals.What prayer did Jesus pray 3 times? ›
Three prayers on the cross: "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34) "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34) "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46)What makes a prayer warrior? ›
Simply put, a prayer warrior is an advocate who feels themselves called to the ministry of reconciliation between God and man. The prayer warrior's heart is one after God's own heart: selfless, with an ability to look at situations from a place beyond them and truly seek after God's will in them.What is a powerful everyday prayer? ›
Help me to keep my heart pure and undivided. Protect me from my own careless thoughts, words, and actions. And keep me from being distracted by my wants, my desires, my thoughts on how things should be. Help me to embrace what comes my way as an opportunity, rather than a personal inconvenience.What is the most powerful prayer in the Bible? ›
The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13): “'Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.What is the powerful morning prayer? ›
Dear Lord, This morning as I contemplate a new day, I ask you to help me. I want to be aware of your spirit—leading me in the decisions I take, the conversations I have, and the work I do. I want to be more like you, Jesus, as I relate to the people I meet today—friends or strangers.How do I overcome my struggle in prayer? ›
Pray for Humility - To the extent we are humble is the extent of the power of God's grace changing our lives. Without humble prayer, God is unable to reach us, because we have no interior need for Him. Work on a Proper Understanding of God and Self - I can not emphasize this one enough.How do I get closer to prayer? ›
- Read the Bible daily. The best way to draw closer to God in suffering is to listen to his voice. ...
- Meditate on God's Word. ...
- Identify prayer prompts. ...
- Take a prayer walk. ...
- Listen to worship music. ...
- Start a daily gratitude list. ...
- Intercede for others. ...
- Connect with a small group.
How can I pray more to God? ›
- Establish a focus for each day's prayer. ...
- Set aside five minutes each hour to pray. ...
- Pray every time you pass particular places (like a school, a mosque, another church). ...
- Pray as you read the Word. ...
- Pray the ACTS pattern. ...
- Pray as you drive. ...
- Pray for your family every day.
A windowsill that faces north or east works well, or it can be in a brighter room if it is located a few feet back from the window. Be sure to keep it away from cold drafts, as those cause Prayer Plant leaves to curl in and shrivel up. Normal household temperatures work well. Finally, Marantas like high humidity.What are the seven steps of prayer? ›
- THE SEVEN STEP PRAYER PROCESS.
- SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS.
Abstract: Participants (N D 430) were recruited online and completed a measure of six prayer types (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, reception, and obligatory prayer).What are the seven levels of prayer? ›
- Prayer of Worship.
- Prayer of Thanksgiving.
- Prayer of Faith.
- Prayer of Intercession.
- Corporate Prayer.
- Prayer of Consecration.
- Prayer of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, Did instruct the hearts of the faithful, Grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy his consolations. Through the same Christ Our Lord.
I give you my body, soul, and spirit; my heart, mind, and will. I claim the covering, cleansing, and protection of your blood and the victory of your cross over every aspect of my life. I ask your Holy Spirit to renew me now and to fill me afresh.What is the best prayer for a miracle? ›
Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am, I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins, please forgive me. In your Name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I renounce Satan, the evil spirits and all their works. I give you my entire self, Lord Jesus, now and forever.What is the powerful three word prayer to the Holy Spirit? ›
Lord, create in me a clean heart and a right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, and forgiving attitude toward others. Where there is anything that needs to change in me, I pray You would enable that change to happen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.What are the 5 ways the Holy Spirit helps you to pray? ›
I think there are at least five ways of praying in the Spirit: 1) praying God's Word; 2) listening to God and praying; 3) partnering in prayer with Christ your Intercessor; 4) praying the God-given desires of your heart; 5) praying with divine love. Our prayer lives come to life when we are empowered by the Spirit.
What prayer protects you from evil? ›
Lord God, I pray for Your protection as I begin this day. You are my hiding place, and under Your wings I can always find refuge. Protect me from trouble wherever I go, and keep evil far from me.Does the Bible say to cover your head when you pray? ›
1 Corinthians 11: 2-16 (NKJV)
4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short.
It is called the "Jesus Prayer", and it consists simply in uttering the single word "Jesus" (or "Lord Jesus", or "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner") in any situation, at any time and place, either aloud or silently.What is prayer the most powerful form of? ›
Prayer. The most powerful form of energy one can generate is not mechanical, electronic or even atomic energy, but prayer energy.What is the most powerful prayer that never fails? ›
The most effective prayer, the one that is always answered, is this: “Father, glorify Your name.” “Answer my cry, O Lord, in a way that will accomplish Your will, for Your will is good, acceptable, and perfect. It is best for You, and therefore best for me and any others who may be affected by this prayer.What is most important in prayer? ›
Prayer helps you develop a relationship with God
Just like your parents here on earth, your Heavenly Father wants to hear from you and talk to you. When you pray, He listens. Then He answers your prayers in the form of thoughts, spiritual feelings, scripture, or even the actions of other people.
“O Allah, I ask You to be saved from any Distress, Grief, Hardship, Harm, and don't test me, etc.” (Riyadh As Saliheen, Sunan At-Tirmidhi). it is one verse.”