If you’re a Christian, then you understand the importance of prayer. Jesus expects us to pray. He even teaches us how to pray. The Bible itself is filled with many examples of prayer. There is even a book called Psalms entirely devoted to worship and prayer.
Perhaps you have tried prayer. Maybe even you pray regularly. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably found yourself wondering from time to time whether or not your prayers are effective.
If that’s you, then keep reading.
How to Pray Effective Prayers
The Bible says,
“The effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much” (James 5:16, NASB)
This verse teaches us several things about prayer.
First, there are effective and ineffective prayers. Secondly, there are righteous and unrighteous people praying prayers. Finally, some prayers do and some prayers don’t accomplish much.
I want to pray effective prayers. I’m sure you do too.
So how do we do that?
#1 Pray in Faith
Jesus once told His disciples,
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (Matthew 21:22, ESV)
When we pray, we have to pray in faith. We must believe that God can accomplish what we ask of Him. There is a connection between the quality of your faith and the effectiveness of the prayers you pray.
Take a look at this passage from the book of James.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8, ESV)
Do you see the connection between faith and prayer? James says we should ask God in faith with no doubting. If we doubt God we should not expect to receive anything from Him.
The first step to praying effective prayers is to pray in faith.
#2 Pray in Jesus Name
Jesus also told His followers this. He said,
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14, ESV)
You’re probably used to praying in Jesus name. In fact, for most of us, that is the customary way we end every prayer we pray. We have gotten so used to praying in Jesus name that we don’t even think about it anymore.
But is that what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Ask anything in my name and I will do it”? I don’t think so.
“In Jesus name” is more than just a nice way to end a prayer. Claiming “in Jesus name” is to claim the authority of Jesus Christ.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Jesus is the resurrected Son of God. He sits at the right and of God, commanding all things in heaven and on earth. He is the supreme authority and power. There is no higher name than the name of Jesus.
And when we pray in His name, we claim His endorsement on our prayer.
That should do at least two things to our prayer life.
First, it should cause us to think about how we pray. Would Jesus really endorse your prayer? Do you think He would give your prayer His stamp of approval?
Secondly, it should give us great confidence. Because Jesus has supreme authority over every created thing, He is capable of doing things greater than we could ever imagine. Nothing is too hard for Him. So we should pray boldly.
#3 Pray God’s Will
One of the original twelve apostles, a man by the name of John, wrote this. He said,
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15, ESV)
In other words, John says that if we pray any prayer according to the will of God, we can have confidence that He will answer it. How incredible is that?
For so many of us, our prayer lives are so ineffective simply because we aren’t praying prayers that align with God’s will.
How can you know?
God has revealed His will to us in His book, the Bible.
All Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV).
The Bible is God’s word, and in it He has revealed everything He wants us to know about who He is and how we can know Him. His desires are clearly communicated in His book.
So you can know if your prayers align with His will by simply asking yourself, “Does the Bible affirm my prayer?” If there is Scripture that supports your prayer, then you can be sure that you are praying according to God’s will.
Start Praying Effectively Today
Most of us know someone who has a powerful prayer life. It seems like God just pays more attention to them than He does to us. But chances are it’s not that God is more interested in them than He is in you or me. Chances are that person has learned to pray effective prayers.
You too can have a powerful prayer life. You can pray effective prayers. But you have to pray God’s way. That’s in faith, in Jesus name and according to His will.