In this article – “Five Keys to Make Your Prayers More Effective” I will be discussing some of the most important factors that determine the effectiveness of our prayers.
Prayer is the single most important aspect of Christian life and it is very significant for our spiritual survival and growth. Also, Prayer determines the success and failure of our relationship with God. A man who does not pray can neither hear from God nor achieve anything for the Kingdom of God.
Prayer is the only means of communication that is available for man to interact with the Creator of this universe. Through prayer we open our hearts before God and share our desires and expectations with Him. Besides, it also helps us to know God’s will in our lives.
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”(Psalm 5:3🙂
Moreover, prayer is a two-way communication between man and God and through prayer we build intimacy with God. Therefore, making prayers effective is as important as praying itself.
Next, let us examine five keys to make your prayers more effective.
1. Pray with Faith.
Yes, Faith is one of the most important factors that makes your prayers more effective. According to the Word of God; if you pray with faith, definitely your prayers will be answered. But what kind of faith? And how much of that faith? The answer is:
“A faith that never doubts and a faith that is as small as a mustard seed.”
20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17, 20)
22“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“Truly f I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (Mark 11, 22)
In Mark 11 we read the story of Lord Jesus cursing the fig tree on the roadside and that withers immediately. But for the disciples this was a great surprise as they never expected this fig tree to wither just because Jesus commanded it to be withered. It seems like the disciples, though they walked with him 24×7 and witnessed all the miracles He did, were unable to comprehend the power of faith that dwelt in Christ.
Also, Jesus uses the same occasion to remind them that – in order to get what they have asked for in prayer – first they need to believe in their hearts that they have already received those things.
Here, Lord Jesus is teaching disciples an important heavenly principle in relation to receiving answers to our prayers. However, for us, believers in Christ, applying this principle in our prayer life is a bit difficult as we often prefer to believe in things only when they materialize in the physical realm and not before that.
In fact, what we need to understand here is – there is a complex connection between the physical realm and the spiritual realm and for things to materialize in the physical realm, first they have to be manifested in the spiritual realm.
So, when we believe in our hearts that we have already received whatever we asked for in prayer; we are actually, through our faith, facilitating the manifestation of those things in the spiritual realm and this in turn speeds up their materialization in the physical realm.
Many times, the reason why we do not see our prayers answered is – because, we do not believe that we have already received an answer.
It is true that many of us pray hard, but we do not know whether our prayers will be answered or not and this uncertainty in our mind is the result of our Lack of faith. Therefore, we need to pray with faith in order to receive definite answers to our prayers.
2. If You Hold Anything Against Anyone, Forgive them.
This is an area that most of us struggle with. Though we are born-again believers, we often hold something against someone. Moreover, we even consider this habit of holding grudge or anger against someone as a natural behaviour. Of course, this might be true from the worldly perspective, but from the heavenly perspective; it is an unclean habit and it makes our hearts impure.
Lord Jesus, while teaching disciples about the importance of having faith while praying, also instructs them not to hold anything against anyone when praying. Because, holding ill-feeling against someone for the offense they have committed against you is a rebellious behaviour and it prevents God’s Grace from flowing into your life.
Remember, you have become a child of God only because God Almighty had forgiven you unconditionally and in the same manner, you too need to forgive those who have offended you. This is an important rule that we have to follow as citizens of heaven.
31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4, 31-32)
Normally, the worldly people carry grievances, grudge and anger against those who offend them and they always wait for an opportunity to take revenge on the one who has offended them. Moreover, they also consider this as a normal response or behaviour. But God does not allow His children to follow this worldly pattern.
Please note: in Mark 11, 25 – Lord Jesus very specifically mentions “When stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them” that means:
Before you go to the Throne of Grace in Heaven with your prayers and petitions, first, you need to forgive those who have offended you.
Remember, your heart is going to be unclean as long as you hold unforgiveness and bitterness within you and the prayers that are offered from the alter of an unclean heart will not be accepted in Heaven.
Saints, please don’t forget, we all, knowingly or unknowingly, have offended many people around us including our family members, friends and relatives and the majority of them have forgiven us unconditionally. Likewise, we too need to forgive those who have offended us. By forgiving others, we are actually sharing the Grace of God with them and it not only blesses the receiver but also the giver.
3. Live in Obedience to God’s Commandments.
Yes, as believers in Christ, we need to live in obedience to God’s Commandments. As you know, obedience is the bridge that connects us with God Almighty and it also acts as a channel through which our love for God flows. That is why in John 14, Jesus says: if you love me, keep my Commandments.
The above verses make it crystal clear that; obedience is the only means by which we can manifest our love for God and there is no substitute to obedience. Our Sunday rituals might convince the world that we are Christians, but they cannot convince God that we love Him; for that, you need to obey His commandments.
Please remember; prayers that originates from a disobedient, rebellious heart will not be answered by Heaven. See the following verse:
According to the above verse, your prayers will be an abomination if you disregard and disobey God’s Commandments. So, Obedience is of paramount importance if you want to make your prayers more effective.
4. Pray According to God’s Will.
In order to make your prayers more effective, you need to pray according to God’s will. You might think; oh! it is not easy to know God’s will; but this is not true; because, God’s Word has very clear instructions regarding praying according to God’s Will but we often fail to recognize it because of our ignorance.
If we examine the content of most of our prayers, we could find that – they are mostly related to the affairs of this world and not about the Kingdom of God. In other words; our prayers are mostly about our desires and aspirations regarding this life and not about God’s will or purpose.
See what Apostle James says:
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4, 1-3)
Yes, one of the main reasons why we do not receive what we ask for in prayer is – because, we ask with wrong motives. So, in order to make our prayers more effective, we need to pray with the right motives that are in sync with God’s Will.
Again, you might wonder how to differentiate between prayers according to God’s Will and our Will. Let me give you an example:
If you are praying for the salvation of a family member; then, that prayer is according to God’s perfect Will, because, God definitely want every human being to inherit eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. But if you are praying for a bigger house or bigger car; then, it may not be according to God’s Will unless you really need them.
However, please remember, if you are a child of God, if you are walking in obedience to His Commandments; then, definitely God will provide what you need even before you start praying for them; yes, I am saying this from my own experience.
Anyway, praying according to God’s Will is important for making your prayers more effective. See what Apostle John says:
14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.(1 John 5, 14 -15)
5. Pray Without Ceasing.
Yes, one of the main reasons why we often do not receive answers for our prayers is – “we are not consistent and persistent in our prayers.” We are always in a hurry to receive an answer and tend to give up when we do not hear from God immediately.
But, actually, in many cases, especially regarding issues related to the Kingdom of God, an answer might take more time than we expect and we should be patient enough to wait and continue to pray until an answer is received. Let me give you an example from my own experience.
For almost 15 years I have been praying for the salvation of three of my friends and recently one of them came to faith in Christ but not baptized yet. This, really taught me an important lesson about being consistent and persistent in prayer.
Another example of being consistent and persistent in prayer can be found in Luke 18, The Parable of the Persistent Widow:
As you know, in this poor widow’s case – she was consistent with her request to the unjust Judge and as a result she received an answer. However, for most of us, the story is completely different; we often fail to receive an answer, because, we are not consistent in knocking the doors of heaven.
Saints, please remember, an “On and Off” style of prayer avails nothing. But consistency will make your prayers more effective and also it will show that you are serious about getting an answer.
16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(1 Thessalonians, 5, 16-18)