Wimpy, ineffective prayers cause people to lose heart and a desire to pray. There are some power-packed principles that will make our prayers productive and fruitful.
Pray with Faith. Lay claim to the promises of Christ who promised that whatever we ask in his name will be given (John 14:13, 14; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26). Talking to God without believing he hears and answers is pointless. Many times our prayers are more wishes than petitions. That might be because we ask for things out of selfishness or covetousness. When we are ardent and make our petitions known to God, he is going to act on our behalf.
Realize that God is Going to Take Over. Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:22). He is in control of the members of the Body (Colossians 1:18). When you ask for God’s help, be willing to get out of the way and allow him to do it in his own way and in his own time. Surrender is often the hardest part of praying. We tend to believe we know the best way for God to work out earthly affairs. Remember, “Blessed are the meek” (Matthew 5:5). You receive nothing when you retain control.
Get Ready for God to Change You. When God starts working in your life you are going to change. Your heart, affections, and attitude will change. This is part of God’s transforming work helping you to partake of his divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). When God moves into your life many things have to move out. Get ready for the transforming power of your creator and sustainer.
Be Willing to Come into Harmony with God. Jesus said “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). In heaven all beings harmoniously carry out God’s work. Become willing to love what God loves, be driven by God’s motives and be interested in what God is interested in. Worldly distractions and selfish desires hinder harmony. Putting off the flesh and putting on the spirit brings us closer to accord.
These prayer principles are major improvements to the “gimme lists” that many call prayer. Windows of blessing are open to us when we start asking for God’s direction. We must follow the Spirit and not the flesh (Galatians 5:16; 1 Peter 4:6).
Prayerful people who embrace these and other mature aspects of prayer are easy to spot. Listening to them talk to God with confidence and boldness is thrilling. Watching God working in the lives of prayerful people reinforces the desire to pray effectively.
James’ words are richer when we understand what the “prayer of faith” and the “righteous person” are.
“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:15-16).
God is watching the work we do for him. He blesses our effort and desires to counsel us always.
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12).
We don’t want God to be against us. Let’s live so our prayers will be answered.