Monday, May 23, 2011

Effective Prayer


“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.
God sovereignly uses our prayers to fulfill His perfect plan.


“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!

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