Ever wondered how to pray powerful prayers? For most of my life, I would throw up random prayers to God and wait to see if he answered or not. I experienced a lot of disappointment. Have you ever been there?
Until one day, I was challenged by a speaker at my church, Samuel. He assured us through Scripture that God is ready and waiting to answer our prayers. But we must learn how to pray powerful prayers if they are to move the hand of God.
With his permission, I’m summarizing his message. It moved me and changed my prayer life so very much that I couldn’t wait to share it with you!
Here are the questions you must ask yourself in order to pray more powerful prayers…prayers that are answered. (Click here for a free printable to follow again and reference later!)
(If you’re brand new to prayer, read this post first to understand the basics of how to pray.)
First, Is my heart in the right place?
The Bible tells us over and over again that God hears our prayers when we keep his commandments, and abide in him.* Now that doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. But it does mean that before praying, we should examine our hearts for selfish motives, idols, blatant sin, unforgiveness, and cruelty.** (Check out How to Forgive Someone Who Isn’t Sorry if you could use a little help in this area!)
We can’t knowingly engage in sin, and then expect to pray powerful prayers. Our sin disconnects us from God’s power. But if we humble ourselves and turn from sin, then God promises, “My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to prayer” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15).
We should also only pray sincere prayers. Your prayer for an improved marriage is sincere if you plan to treat your spouse differently. Your prayer for your city to know God is sincere if you’re actively trying to lead people to Christ. Our actions have to align with our prayers.
Second, Are my prayers focused on the desires of God?
Are we praying only for ourselves and our own needs? There’s no doubt those things are important to God (Philippians 4:6).
But we should also be praying for others, and for God’s desires and honor. The Bible says that we do not have because we do not ask (James 4:2-3). God wants to do so much more than find us close parking spots at the grocery store! But we must ask for those higher things, like the salvation of our friends and revival in our city, to receive them.
Third, Am I praying in faith?
The Bible is full of promises that if we believe, and do not doubt, God will answer our prayers.*** Samuel says that faith is “founded on evidence, on your honest perception of reality. What do you actually believe is true, so true that you act on it…That’s faith!”
How can you honestly, fully believe that God will answer your prayers? One way to build your faith is to find a Scripture that supports your prayer. For example, if you’re praying for baptism in the Holy Spirit, you can stand on Luke 11:13, where Jesus says the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. If under attack, you can stand on Isaiah 59:19.
God doesn’t say anything he doesn’t mean. If we pray, “if it is your will, fill me with the Holy Spirit”, it’s as if we’re accusing him of insincerity in Luke 11:13.
Don’t add an if. Simply stand on his promises. The more scriptural promises you can collect regarding your situation, the more they will build your faith.
Another way to build your faith is through constant praise. When we’re constantly speaking and singing things like “great is your faithfulness”, they take root as truths in our hearts.
Whatever we’re praying for, we can stand on the promise of Matthew 7:7-11. “Ask, and it will be given to you…For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
And Finally, How seriously am I taking my prayer? Are desire and persistence present?
Samuel said something that really struck me and stuck with me. “God takes your prayers as seriously as you take them.”
If I take five seconds to lift someone in prayer, and then forget about them altogether, I’m not expressing true desire to God. Think about the weight of what you’re praying for.
If you’re praying for someone battling depression, imagine the darkness and hopelessness in which they’re drowning. Carry that weight into your prayers. Take it seriously.
Our intensity and burden in prayer should match the worth of whatever we’re praying for. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, his prayers were so earnest that he sweat blood. He understood the weight and eternal significance of the souls for which he was praying.
Another indication of how seriously we’re taking our prayers is our persistence. How often have you lifted someone to God once in prayer, and never prayed for them again?
The Bible tells us over and over that persistence in prayer leads to answers. It encourages us to press on, praying without ceasing until God answers.****
Wrap It Up
God is ready and waiting to answer our prayers! But we must learn how to pray powerful prayers, through examining our heart and motives, praying in faith, and taking our prayers very seriously. What are you praying for today?
P.S. Did you miss the link to our free powerful prayers reference sheet? Be sure to download it here and use it the next time you pray!
*John 15:7-10, 1 Peter 3:12, Proverbs 10:24, Isaiah 59:1-2, Ezekiel 14:3, Psalm 24:3-5, John 9:31, 1 John 3:22
**James 4:2-3, Ezekiel 14:3, Isaiah 59:1-2, Mark 11:25, 1 Peter 3:7
***James 1:5-8, Mark 11:22-24, 1 John 5:14-15
****Luke 18:1-8, Luke 11:5-9, Ephesians 6:18, Romans 15:30, James 5:7
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