steps to effective prayer

Is Prayer Effective-We Tried

Last month we talked about “faith that moves Mountain”, it was one of my best experiences just to learn the potential of faith that I have.

Today I want us to look into a new aspect of moving mountain and that is “prayer that works” Effective Prayer, how does it look like and How can me and you learn and operate in this level.

If you have found yourself in a situation, either a positive or a negative one; most probably you have prayed about it or have heard people advise you to pray or they were praying for you. 

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Related Post: Prayer for strength

But the big question is, Can prayer truly change circumstances?

Does prayer affect your destiny? And for some, the frustration of unanswered prayer has caused them to ask different questions too…Why doesn’t prayer seem to work, why is that it works for some, and for others is a journey of frustrations and disappointment. 

I like what Oswald Smith says “when we work, we work, but when we pray, God works.”

As we finalize the year or as you get into a new project, a new need or a new desire, I suggest to us not to work but to pray because  “when we work, we work, but when we pray, God works.”

Despite all the questions, confusion, and uncertainty surrounding prayer, it is still the greatest common denominator among all great biblical characters and thousand of believers throughout history -I bet the one thing that is common to all of us here is that we all pray. Right? 

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what is effective prayer

But somehow some of us enjoy it, while others are not sure if it really works.

As we start our series this month I want first to lay the foundation of ëffective Prayer” prayer that works. We need to agree on this if we want to experience prayer that works. 

There are three principles that I want us to look into today, that are foundations for effective prayer.

Before I even mention this principle, I want you to understand that Prayer is meant to be a relationship builder, a connection. God is not a machine, so the principles are meant to help you grow your intimacy with God, it’s not a formula for God to work for you.

I suggest that these are indicators that point you in the right direction. 

Three foundational principles of effective prayer.

how to pray effective prayer

God’s purpose is more important than our plans. 

This doesn’t mean that our plans are useless or not important. It’s a simple reality that God is committed to fulfilling His purpose and we better align our plans within His will or else we will be on our own, at least in regards to that need.

The thing is that as Christians we find ourselves praying. We pray more than we read the bible. We therefore need to ask ourselves this question:, Is what am praying aligned with God’s purpose? Is it aligned with God’s will?

Because God is intentional and committed 100% to His purpose, we need to align ourselves, or else we will be praying a miss.

The reason why this is important is that God has clearly stated in His word:

Proverbs 19:21-22 Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

At the end of the day, God’s Purpose will prevail, the question is will it leave you frustrated because you were praying in a different direction or will it leave you fulfilled because you were praying in-line with His purpose.

To illustrate this further look at what Isaiah says in

Isaiah 46:10


I make known the end from the beginning,

    from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say, ‘My purpose will stand,

    and I will do all that I please.’

 If God already knows what will happen in the end and He is committed to ensuring that it happens the way He wants it, why do we find it hard to trust Him and keep ourselves busy praying for our own outcome?

Praying without knowing what God desires concerning a particular situation is what leaves us frustrated…..If you have been frustrated before then chances are you might be praying outside God’s will. Chances are God’s will concerning that need requires you to be or to do something in order for God to align you and point you in the right direction. 

Let’s look at what the dictionary defines as frustration…

the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.

Isn’t this what we have been trying all along to do; to change, to achieve or to build something? Yet we have been going in a circle, frustrated because things seem to get worse even with all the efforts.

If this has been you, I want you to change your approach. Your miracle and your breakthrough is tied to your ability to recognize God’s will concerning that need.

The Big lesson today- You cannot replace what God has put in place.  You can only align with what God wants to do.

Andy Stanley

With this principle, we must change/adjust our approach to prayer because nothing finds God by surprise. God knows your current situation, and God wants you to invite Him because He knows the best way out. 

When you invite God to your needs, God is inviting you to His purpose, and you better hold on to His purpose…Why… because you will find peace regardless of what God chooses to do with your need.

Look at what Pauls say’s, Pauls understood this principle so well. Paul had this pressing need,

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.

9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.

10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Paul changed his approach to prayer and how he views his needs/circumstances when he understood God’s will/purpose concerning his needs.

 2. God has placed His Word above even His name

effective prayer of a righteous man

The word of God is not just the law for man but it is also called the “law of God”. What that means is, when God speaks, He is willfully obligated to obey His word. Because of His integrity and faithfulness, God subjects Himself to His promise and decrees. 

I will worship toward Your holy temple,

And praise Your name

For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;

For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.

Psalm 138:2

For us to know and understand God’s purpose and will we need to desire and study His word, because, clearly from the above scripture His word is way important. Our prayer needs to be aligned with God’s written or spoken word.

This is the reality- friends: God will prioritize His spoken or written word over our desire and plans.

 14And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

1 John 5:14

It’s easy to ask for anything, actually, that’s what we have been doing all through, but very few of us ask according to the will of God because we have no idea what His will is. We don’t take time to ask God to reveal to us His purpose and will concerning the situation.

We want a quick fix, a quick answer, we want things to go the way we want them.

Prioritizing God’s word in our lives will reveal the will of God concerning our circumstance or situation. God will remain true to His word no matter what. 

Understanding God’s word concerning our situation will help us pray effectively. 

I dare say this, because of God’s faithfulness and integrity, if you pray God’s word, God has no option but to do according to His word, because God is not a man that He should lie. 

how to pray effective prayer

I challenge you the next time you kneel to pray, ask God to reveal to you His purpose and will concerning that situation or need. God is committed to His word, God will show you His purpose if you invite Him to.

Asking God to reveal to you His purpose or will through His word [either written or spoken] is a position of surrender. This is like saying, God, I know what I want, but I trust what you want for me. 

3. Pray in the name of Jesus

This is not just a matter of statement but a relationship. Praying in the Name of Jesus is like saying you are in His position, for you to effectively pray in His name you need to be aligned with Him.

24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

John 16:24

We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, because Jesus is the high priest, the mediator, it is through Him that we get to connect with the Father. 

daily effective prayer website

John 14:12 I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Conclusion: Effective Prayer

As we stand before God ready to pray we need to ask ourselves this three-question

Is what am praying for in-line with God’s purpose-God’s will– this is a question of checking your attitude and motives.

This is backed up with what James say’s in James 4:3 You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Am I comfortable with what God wants for me or do I just want what I want?

 What does the Bible say about God concerning this situation, Is there a promise, a word I can attach to what’s going on. 

 For example, if it is “lack” What does the Bible say about God concerning provision:

-God is Jehovah Jireh the Lord our provider

-Silver and Gold belongs to him

 How is my relationship with Jesus? 

This question is one that is usually neglected and it’s a question of relationship. Do I just want God for the things that God does for me, or do I want God because God is my father and I want a relationship with Him?

This month, I pray that the Lord will reveal to us, what His will is concerning our prayer life, we will also look into scripture to discover what God has done before and why it worked for them.

how to pray effective prayer

Let’s pray;

Heavenly Father,

You have said, in word in Jeremiah 33:3 that we çall onto you and you will answer and tell us great and unsearchable things that we don’t know[ paraphrased] On the basis of that word and that promise we call to you and ask you to show us great and unsearchable truths about prayer that you have set forth in your Word.

Forgive us for leaning on our own understanding when it comes to prayer, forgive us for times that we have not trusted your purpose and times we have doubted you because you didn’t do things the way we wanted. 

Heal us Lord from the spiritual and emotional effects that unanswered prayer has worked in us. Give us an open mind to trust and allow your Word, through the Holy Spirit to guide us in what your will and purpose are.  

Lord, we pray this for your Glory and for our joy in Jesus’ Name Ame.

IS there something that has helpful, interesting, weird, or even confusing let us know on the comment? Check out our next episode on Purpose of Prayer-Why do we pray.