Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons a Christian has access to (some others being the Bible and the Holy Spirit). However, prayer is also one of the things many Christians find the most difficult to do. Many people feel they simply do not have time for prayer and some struggle to find the words to say. Others may feel like their prayers have no impact; they are falling on deaf ears. Some Christians are even wondering, “What is prayer?” or simply don’t know how to pray.
I’ve been in all of these shoes; I’ve felt that my day was too hectic to factor in time to pray, I’ve floundered for words, and I’ve felt that my prayers weren’t working. A while ago I began studying prayer according scripture and I learned that there are several things that can become “obstacles” in our prayer lives and prevent our prayers from being effective. Below are five questions regarding my prayer life that God presented to me through scripture and I want to share them with you too!
1. How to Pray Powerfully and Effectively: Is Prayer a Priority?
As I mentioned above, many people feel that they do not have the time to set aside and pray. For years, most of my Christian life actually, my prayer life was non-existent. I was convinced that my schedule was to full and there was just no time to pencil God in and when I did have the time to pray I didn’t because I didn’t feel like it. I would spend my days worrying and stressed out and when I did pray I would wonder why the results weren’t what I was hoping for.
Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Prayer is our way of connecting with Father God and is not meant to be an every once in a while thing. About a year ago, I resolved to begin praying every single day whether I felt like it or not. I get up about an hour earlier than is necessary, grab a hot cup of coffee, do my Bible study, and pray. Let me tell you, it’s amazing! When I sit down at my little desk each morning, it’s like I can feel God there; like He was waiting on me. Though my prayers are not always answered the way I want them to be, the consistency in my prayer life has helped me to recognize that God always responds to my prayers. Remember, scripture tells us to pray without ceasing!
Side Note: Whoever said that you shouldn’t read your Bible/pray because you don’t feel like it needs a reality check (and trust me, I’ve seen this mentioned in blogs/vlogs more times than I can count). The reasoning behind that proposal is that if you make yourself pray/study the Bible when you don’t feel like it, it will begin feeling like a chore. I argue that if you do not get into a consistent routine of praying and Bible study then it will always be a chore because you will never do it. Most mornings I am tempted to stay in bed because I don’t feel like getting up and praying. However, I make myself get up and by the end of my quiet time I am extremely thankful that I made myself do it.
2. How to Pray Powerfully and Effectively: What’s Your Motivation?
Why are you praying? Are you praying because it’s expected of you, because you need something, or because you want to connect to God? Are you praying to God as a last resort or is He the first one you turn to?
I’ve been very transparent and honest on my blog and I won’t stop now: I used to only pray when I needed something. Of course, these prayers never really amounted to anything and then I would get angry at God because things didn’t go my way.
Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Don’t get me wrong, it is completely okay to ask God for help when you’re in need. However, this should not be the only time you pray.
3. How to Pray Powerfully and Effectively: Are You Praying According to God’s Will?
When I graduated from high school I began praying to be in a serious relationship. Prayer was not a priority in my life ( I pretty much just said “Hey God, I’d like a boyfriend, thanks.” and that was all), my motivations were in the wrong places (I was selfish, lonely, and jealous of my friends who were in relationships) and now (several years later) I can see that my prayers were not in line with God’s will.
1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Looking back, I can see that being in a relationship at that point in time was not in God’s will for me because I wasn’t ready for it! I was a naive 18 year old fresh out of high school, I had no clue what a real relationship was like, I frequently battled lust and temptation and obviously my relationship with God was nowhere where it should be; if I had gotten a boyfriend then my relationship with God probably never would have matured to where it is now and I seriously doubt I would have made it out of the relationship with my virginity in tact.
This is also one of those times where I can see that God did answer my prayer; the answer was just ‘no.’ This is also one of those times where I am extremely thankful that God’s ways are higher than my ways, his thoughts higher than my thoughts, and that he will always do what he knows is best for me and not what I think is best for me.
4. How to Pray Powerfully and Effectively: Is Your Life Honoring God?
This last point kind of ties all of the other three together with a big, shiny red bow. Are you living your life for God or are you living it for yourself?
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
This means that the prayers of the person who make God a priority, who is motivated to pray through love, who prays for God’s will to be done and not their own has powerful and effective prayer.
If there is something in your life that you know displeases God, get rid of it. If you’re not sure if there is something in your life that displeases God pray and ask him for wisdom and discernment and then empty yourself of anything the Holy Spirit reveals to you.
As this post is focused on prayer, I only see it fitting that I end in prayer:
Precious Father, I thank you for each and every person that comes across this post. I believe that you led them here for a reason. Lord, if they are seeking a closer relationship with you I pray you will draw near to them. If they are yearning for a deeper prayer life, I pray you will give them a desire to spend time with you. I pray you will open their minds and hearts and help them to receive the message you have revealed to them today. To you be all the glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Resources on Prayer:
“Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick
“Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer
“Battle Plan for Prayer” by the Kendrick Brothers
“War Room” the movie
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