How to Pray Effectively

Have you ever wondered why God was not answering your  prayers, or at least not as quickly as you would like or not in the way you expected? I have on many occasions.

There are several things to consider when praying.

1.God answers prayers in ways we do not expect.
God’s ways are not our ways. God sees the end from the beginning and knows what is best for us. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT). Sometimes God is answering our prayers and directing our steps, it just looks different than the way we think it should. Don’t miss God and His guidance because it doesn’t fit into your mold!

I remember several years ago, I asked God to help me know Him more. The very night I prayed that prayer, He allowed a very difficult trial to enter my life, which lasted months. I was so scared and confused I did not know which way to turn. Over the next several months that proceeded, however, God began to teach me things about His nature that I could not have learned any other way. I would much rather have read a book or manual on knowing God. Despite the adversity, His word came alive to me and I was so grateful for having gone through those challenges. They caused me to understand God more than all my previous years as a Christian combined. God truly answered my prayer.

2.God wants us to come to Him with a sincere heart and with pure motives.
The Bible records, “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:2-3 NLT).

There was a time in my life, when I wanted to play basketball in the NBA. I practiced and practiced and prayed to God to open the right doors for me, but nothing seemed to work out. None of the coaches ever saw it the way I did. It left me feeling very frustrated. One day in college God spoke to me in a still small voice: “Cory, I did not make you a basketball player, but a fisher of men.” I realized at that point, I could keep fighting against God and try to push open doors that God wanted closed, or I could get busy pursuing the very plan and purpose God had for me. I was asking God to help me go to the NBA for selfish reasons and never really cared about what God created me for! The moment I began to pursue God’s plan all kinds of doors started to open. Life became so exciting!

3.Be persistent and faithful in prayer.
The answer to your prayer might not come as quickly as you would expect. The Bible explains, “Then he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come'” (Daniel 10:12-14). Daniel had humbled himself before God and prayed and his request had been heard in heaven! Yet, it took 21 days for the answer to come to him. We need to wait expectantly for God to reveal His plan and purpose to us. Do not get discouraged. God hears you and wants to show you great and mighty things which you do not know just like He did for Daniel.

I have a friend who has kids that were not walking with God. He prayed for them to be everything God wanted them to be on a regular basis. Yet, year after year he saw them make poor decisions that negatively affected their lives.

Then one day out of the blue, both of his daughters expressed interest in coming back to church and growing closer to God. God was faithful. Both of his daughters and their kids are walking with God today with all their hearts! My buddy was persistent in prayer and God was faithful to answer it in His perfect timing.

Apply these principles to your prayer life and watch God add new meaning to your communion with Him. He eagerly awaits you to come boldly to His throne!

Cory can be reached at [email protected]

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