Have you experienced life-changing prayer? Have you encountered a dire situation—a crumbling marriage, poor health, fractured relationships, lack of funds, crippling unemployment or emotional hurt—and come through it with an even stronger faith, knowing without any doubt that your God is far greater and stronger than any adversity? If that’s what you would like, then it’s time to begin practicing life-changing prayer. It’s time to direct your attention—your spirit and your mind—to the One who is able to “cause everything to work together for the good of those who love God” (Romans 8:28). It’s only through Him that you’ll experience the life change you so desperately desire.
Boldly Approaching the Throne of Grace
Of course, even if you know just how important prayer is, you may still need to know how to pray effectively. Hebrews 4:16 gives you a clue, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Consider the word boldly. It’s more than merely scooping up limited courage and peering into the Lord’s throne room. When you come boldly into a place, it means you know you belong. When you come in faith, it means you know you have God’s Word to strengthen and guide you. When you come humbly, it means you know you have His Spirit and recognize who He is. When you come expectantly, it means you acknowledge Him as your faithful High Priest. All of this leads to a confidence that has the power to transform you.
Prayer is an important part of Christians’ lives, yet some question whether their prayers are as effective as they could be. If that is you, then here are four steps to take to ensure that your prayers are effective:
Step 1: Pray an Effective Prayer by Knowing What the Bible Says
How can you pray in a way that pleases God if you don’t know His nature? You won’t know what He has promised. You won’t know how He handles situations. You won’t know what pleases or displeases Him. To pray more effectively, take time to get to know the One to whom you are praying—through His Word. Make Bible study part of your day…every day.
Step 2: Pray an Effective Prayer by First Asking for Wisdom
Before you ask God to solve a problem in your life, first ask Him for wisdom and for His perspective on it. Proverbs 4:7, KJV, calls wisdom “the principal thing,” and James 1:5, KJV, says God will give you His wisdom liberally. No matter what prayer you want answered, first ask for God’s wisdom to lead you.
Step 3: Pray an Effective Prayer by Remaining in Faith
Once you know what the Word says about your situation and you have God’s perspective on it, then settle within yourself what He has said. Trust Him to keep His Word. Thank Him for leading you, guiding you and answering you. Don’t let anything dissuade you from what the Lord has shown you. Stay faithful to the truth you have received.
Step 4: Pray an Effective Prayer by Forgiving
If you want the Lord to respond to your prayers, forgiveness is vital. In Mark 11, Jesus taught His disciples about the prayer of faith. At the end, He gave them the final step when He said, “…believe that ye receive…and ye shall have,” but in the very same breath, He said, “And when ye stand praying, forgive…” (verses 24-25, KJV). Effective prayers require faith, faith requires love, and love requires forgiveness. Don’t wait another second to forgive someone who has hurt you. Commit to live the life of love and faith and enjoy the benefit of effective prayer times.
You can rest knowing that your heavenly Father hears and answers your prayers when you put these steps into practice. Find out what the Bible has to say, ask for wisdom, remain in faith, and live a life of forgiveness. You’ll experience the joy of walking more closely with the Father and knowing that your prayers are effective!
Practical Prayer Tips
Thankfully, in addition to understanding how to approach God’s throne room and praying effectively, there are also practical ways you can strengthen your prayer life—practices you can implement to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness, to keep your focus on His promises, to help you mature in your prayer life, and to help promote a lifestyle of prayer.
Start a Prayer Journal
One of the easiest ways to remain strong in the face of challenges is to remind yourself of all God has done in the past. By recording your prayers as well as the answers you’ve received, you’re able to go back and see all God has already done for you. Then you can be like David and proclaim: “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy” (Psalm 116:1). As you go before God with your current needs, be assured that His faithfulness will never ebb and flow. He will remain constant. Nothing will stir up your faith more today than looking back on what weighed on your heart weeks, months and years ago, and seeing God’s faithfulness.
Find a Meaningful Reminder
As you stand in faith for significant changes in your life, it can be helpful to have a visual reminder of what or for whom you are praying. Maybe it’s a family picture, a lab report or some other meaningful token. Remember, you aren’t praying to this item, but you are using it as a point of contact to focus and clarify the object of your prayers.
Set Reminders on Your Phone
Lives are busy; schedules are hectic. Sometimes it can feel as if there’s no time to pray like you know you should. The truth is, there is time. You simply have to start small and build from there. If you were to begin training for a run—whether a 5K or a marathon—you would need to start small. You would start by learning to run a mile before you ran three, and three before you ran six and so on. The same is true of your prayer life. You can start small by setting a reminder to pray every day for five minutes—perhaps first thing in the morning, during lunch or after dinner. As you make this habit, you will build your endurance—your prayer stamina—until it becomes ingrained.
Surround Yourself With Resources
If you want to learn how to pray life-changing prayers, then it will be helpful to surround yourself with those who have vibrant prayer lives themselves. You can also surround yourself with intercessors who will stand in faith with you as you pray for broken relationships, shaky finances or failing health. These people can serve as vital resources for you as you take notes and ask questions. They will help you as you “devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart” (Colossians 4:2). Other resources can include mature believers, teaching books and, of course, the Bible.
Revise Your Self-Talk
You may be full of faith as you pray for or discuss your needs with friends or mentors, but how do you talk to yourself about these needs? Do you speak life and faith over your situation, or do you complain and worry more than you pray? You should make sure that your self-talk is as full of faith as it would be if you were talking with friends.
Over time, your prayer life will improve as you boldly approach the throne of grace, pray effectively, and put these tips into practice. You’ll enjoy a more rewarding prayer life, and you’ll start to see answers. You’ll finally know what it is to have life-changing prayer!
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