Four Ways to Cultivate an Effective Prayer Life

Creating an Effective Prayer Life

My Pastor used to tell me that a Christian is no stronger than their prayer life. A lot of people are pretty good at fitting in and doing the church thing, making Christian friends, and learning the songs and picking up on Christian culture. But Jesus didn’t come to the earth so we could our best lives now and make a bunch of Christian friends.

Jesus came for us because we are lost and broken. We might KNOW how to do right and live right, but to actually do it, well, we just don’t have it in us. That’s why we need to be born again. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. That’s why we need the guidance from the Word of God. There’s no one who doesn’t need to pull that strength from God. He is the only source we have for a life that works well, and blesses God and blesses other people.

We need the strength that we can only get from being in the presence of God. Strength that we can only get by drawing on the Holy Spirit, by having a healthy prayer life. Like my Pastor said, no matter how good we are at being good little church people, we are no stronger than our prayer life. It’s like a chain. You can have a really strong chain… even a logging chain, but it at one point you have just a shoe lace instead of a link, that whole chain is no stronger than that one little shoe lace.

Being effective at praying isn’t just something for super saints and model Christians. Anyone can develop a good prayer life, a prayer life that makes a difference. When we pray, it’s a powerful connection between us and our Creator. It’s a spiritual transaction that transforms us and allows us to EXPERIENCE the supernatural intervention of God in our lives. I want to share with you some key principles to move forward in our prayer lives and witness the faithfulness of God as He moves in answer to our prayers.

Number one is, we need to SEEK God's Presence. Seek a meet-up with Him. Like you would with any other friend you cared about and wanted to be with. What do we do? We set aside time. We look forward to it, and give ourselves to that time with our friend. Same with God. In James 2 verse 23, it says that Abraham BELIEVED God and it was counted to him for righteousness, and Abraham was called God’s friend! I want to be called God’s friend! Jesus said in John chapter 15, verse 15 that He calls us His friends.

So, we want to build that friendship by spending time with Him. He says in Psalms 105, verse 4 - "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually." That means we KNOW it’s God’s heart for us, to seek Him, and for us to receive the strength we need from Him.

Don’t be in a hurry. You don’t have to talk all the time. It’s ok to just say, OK, God, here I am. I just want to be with you. And then sit there in His presence.

Praying with a friend or two is powerful. Jesus said in Matthew 18, verse 20, that when two or three people gather in His name, He is there in the midst of us. You can get together with a couple of friends for a prayer time. Just free flowing is fine. You can share your needs and prayer requests, and then pray for each other and pray with each other. That is one way to grow in your praying, and to get closer to the Lord and to your friends. We have a prayer team that prays together each night during the weekdays on a conference call. You can do that, too, with your friends. It’s a really cool way to build closer friendships while building your prayer life and at the same time be making a difference in the world.

Number two, is to align our desires, the things we want, with God's perfect will. He is Lord, so He comes first. He has WISDOM far beyond anything that we have, so only makes sense to bring our plans, dreams, and even our limitations to God.

One thing that helps is to pray with our Bible or Bible app open. Reading some Scriptures helps get you aligned with the will of God, and tuned in to the mind of God. It helps us to understand God’s priorities, and a lot of times, you’ll run across a promise or a verse that just builds your faith, and HELP YOU to pray better and with more faith power!

We can trust that Jesus knows what is best for us. So it's easier to let Him set the plans and the agenda for our lives. That is the only way to truly live the abundant life that Jesus purchased for us on the cross.  First John 5, verse 14 says, “this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."

That means that you and I can pray confidently, just state what you want, or need, and if you’re not praying against the will of God – and why would you – you can be SURE that God hears us! Jesus LISTENS to YOU! Think how much of a blessing that is, that Jesus listens to you! He REALLY does!

Even when you’re praying for things that seem not that important. He still listens to you! If people knew that, and really believed it, it would double their prayer life – at LEAST double it!  You might be a new believer and not even know very much. But if you know that Jesus is hearing you when you pray, it just MAKES you want to pray more, and to pray ABOUT more!

Number three is to pray, using your faith. Believe that what God promises in the Bible is His will. Believe that He is waiting for you to RELEASE your faith as you pray. When you know that Jesus is listening, it builds your faith. It helps you to pray, and to believe that things change because you pray. Prayer definitely changes things. Prayer changes circumstances. Prayer changes people. Prayer even changes the person who is doing the praying. When you are in the presence of God, it changes you.

When you’re praying, your faith grows, and you can truly believe that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or imagine. When you come to God, you can KNOW that He hears you and He responds to our prayers.

What do you pray about? Whatever is on your mind. Pray for our country – that will keep you busy for a while! Pray for your family and loved ones, and whatever problems and needs they have. Pray for whatever you need. Pray for whatever bothers you or concerns you. Pray about whatever scares you. If it concerns you, it concerns God.  Pray for our church! The Bible says that we do not have a High Priest who is not touched by the feelings we have and the weaknesses we have. Remember, Jesus KNOWS what it’s like to live on the earth and to have all of these things going on, and situations and issues. That’s why we can freely approach Him, and believe that He is hearing us and is making changes in answer to our praying.

Jesus said in Matthew 21, verse 22 - "that whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." You can pray with people. You can pray FOR people. You can let people know that you are a praying person and that you will pray for them, and that you believe God hears you when you pray.

That brings us to number four. Hang in there. Don’t give up. Don’t stop praying. Pray and don’t quit.  When we pray and keep praying, it’s an act of faith and it shows that we know we are dependent on God. Let Him know that you are depending on Him. That you need Him to do what only HE can do. I remind Him of that regularly. “God, I am needing you to do what only You can do.” I had to learn to not give up easily, and to keep praying, even when it seems like nothing is changing. You want to remember, God's timing is perfect, and He is faithful to answer in His way and at the right time.

The Bible says in Luke 18:1 that Jesus told the people a parable to encourage them that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Why did He do that? Because it’s easy to not pray about very much, and it’s also easy to lose heart when the answer doesn’t seem to come. But Jesus says, to pray all the time, get good at it! And then don’t quit! Just because the answer hasn’t come yet doesn’t mean that you ought to quit. Sometimes, you want to pray, just to be getting some quality time with God.  

I believe God has answers for you. I believe God has MIRACLES for you. He has SUPPLY for you, to meet your needs with. These answers, these miracles… that supply that you need so badly, are waiting to be RELEASED as you align with God, and spend time with Him. I just believe that.

I pray for all our website visitors, all our online viewers. Our prayer team does, too. We pray for God to release those answers to you. We're praying, pray, I’m praying for MIRACLES to happen in your life. Health miracles, financial miracles, peace of mind miracles… a relationship miracle, where God is working in that relationship. For God to work miracles in your life and in your home, in the name of Jesus!