“Prayer is a duty, and the neglect of prayer is therefore a sin.”—John MacArthur
“I doubt if there is any Christian who has not sometimes found it difficult to pray. In itself this is neither surprising nor depressing: it is not surprising, because we are still pilgrims with many lessons to learn; it is not depressing, because struggling with such matters is part of the way we learn.”—D. A. Carson
What does prayer change?
- Prayer changes us.
- Prayer changes the world around us.
PRAYING MORE EFFECTIVELY
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:16-18).
There is no secret formula that will guarantee that our prayers are always answered in the way we desire.
How can we pray effectively?
First, pray with a pure heart. “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer” (Psalm 66:18-19; see also Matthew 5:12, 14; 1 Peter 3:7).
Second, pray with a selfless heart. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3; see also 1 John 5:14-15).
Third, pray with an believing heart. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7). But faith does not force God to do as we wish.
Fourth, pray with a patient heart. We “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). God answers, “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.”
Fifth, pray with a submissive heart. "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42; see also Romans 8:28).
Sixth, pray with a willing heart. You could play a part in answering your own prayer!