Effective prayers are needed in this day and hour. I think we all would like to believe that our prayers are effective. In western culture, it’s almost a given that when we find ourselves needing help we go to prayer. It seems that we know quite a bit about prayer since we all at one time or another have told someone, “my prayers are with you”. Or something to that effect. The question we must ask ourselves is what is prayer and how can I pray effectively?To say we are praying for someone, to be sure, we must actually engage in prayer. Simply saying we are praying is not prayer! I believe Jesus Christ left us an example of a prayer that should be utilized in our prayer life.
Prayer must be Consistent
Effective praying by the Christian may seem like a very daunting task at times. So much to pray for and oftentimes our thoughts are scattered that we have no direction in our prayers. Many of the world religions have certain prayers that are prayed daily. Two of the largest religions pray the same way every day. Devout Jews are taught to pray at least three times a day. Muslims are taught they must pray five times daily. Although their prayers may have slight variations they basically pray the same way every day. What about Christianity? Do we generally pray the same way? We claim to serve the one true God and yet many Christians struggle with their prayer life. Prayer must be consistent to be effective.
Lord Teach us to Pray
The disciples of Christ asked a very direct question, “Lord teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 This question poses an interesting point. Our leaders should take the time to teach the people how to pray. This leads to a few questions I would like us to consider. I may not answer all of these questions in this post but at least consider them.
- Why should we pray?
- Does God hear our prayers depending on our posture? Kneeling, standing, lying prostrate, sitting, etc.
- How often should we pray?
- Should our prayers be long or short?
- Is it more important how we start our prayers or how we finish them?
- Should prayer focus mostly on others, on God, or on ourselves?
- Is prayer primarily done in a church or at home?
- Who do we address in our prayers? An angel, a dead saint, Jesus Christ, God the Father or the Holy Ghost?
This list does not contain all questions concerning prayer, however, as you can see prayer can be daunting to master! We need an easy effective prayer pattern.
The Lord’s Prayer
Spending any amount of time reading the gospels it is quickly understood that Jesus was a man of prayer. Matthew 14:23 Matthew 26:36 Mark 6:46 Luke 6:12 Luke 9:28 Luke 11:1 Jesus Christ is an authority on prayer! After hearing Jesus pray the disciples must have felt like they didn’t know how to pray effectively. No doubt Jesus was eager to share his method of praying to his devout followers. In my opinion, the Lord’s prayer can be prayed in two ways. The first way is to simply recite the prayer, however, in order to be effective, it must be sincere. Christ warned against vain repetitions. Matthew 6:7 The second way is to break down the prayer into several parts. It is this method I would like to break down and use as a foundation for effective praying.
Our Father which art in Heaven
We must understand that no amount of praying or prayer methods will be effective if not done so sincerely. One danger in teaching prayer as a certain method or certain recitation is that it won’t be sincere. We must approach prayer with a sincere heart and unselfish purpose. A good way to start in prayer is by recognizing God’s authority and holiness. “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed (to make holy; consecrate) be thy name.” Enter prayer by giving glory to God for who is and what He means to you. Adore Him and worship Him for being in control of everything. Search the scriptures and see what others called Him and use those names in prayer. Thank Him for His wonderful plan in sending Jesus Christ to redeem the world from sin! This is an easy effective way to start in prayer.
Thy Will be Done
Effective praying begins with worshipping and recognizing the Lord’s authority and holiness. As we continue to pray the Lord’s prayer we pray that His will be done in our lives. Spending any amount of time pondering our life we will quickly understand we need God’s will for direction. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39 We must learn to pray for God’s will to be accomplished in our lives. This is the whole purpose of God, to have His will in our lives. We must pray the Lord have his will in our life.
Prayer Changes Things
Effective praying will change things. Take the remainder of the Lord’s prayer and break it down into parts. In doing so you can make your prayer life effective and consistent. Prayer is communicating with God and there is no better way to communicate than to use His word. Memorize it, quote it, pray it and you will begin to see the power of effectual prayer! You can take any verse or series of verses and pray it by breaking it down into parts. The key is to be sincere and honest with the Lord and live a life that is pleasing in His sight. Go and change your world and those around you by being an effective praying Christian! God Bless.