6 Steps How to Pray Effectively

6 Steps How to Pray Effectively May 19, 2023

two hands clasped in prayer upon a Holy Bible
Photo by Pixabay/pexels.com/The Bible is our map to effective prayer

Do you ever feel your prayers are hitting the ceiling and bouncing back down unheard? Or were weak words scattered on the wind to arrive in an unintelligible, jumbled mess? Perhaps the prayer queue to the Throne is backed up. Have you paid for a book, video, or CD that promised the magic words to get God’s attention only to be unsuccessful? If only I had a guide of 6 steps how to pray effectively.

In moments like these, I ask myself, “Why should I even try”. 

Why should a benevolent, merciful, all-knowing, and loving heavenly Father waste his time on me amidst the billions of others with their prayerful petitions? The short answer is … He shouldn’t. None of us have ever done anything to earn the ear of God. No action or decision we have made or will make can ever redeem us. 

Thank the Lord for His grace and love.

But wait a minute. You said there were 6 steps how to pray effectively. 

Right, you are. And here we go.

1.) ASK

a student raises her hand and is called on by the teacher
Photo by Katerina Holmes/pexels.com/The best way to get an answer is by asking the one in authority a question

What to do when you want something? Ask.

How you start is one of the simplest concepts in history. 

A baby asks for food or a change of diapers the only way he knows how. By crying. I can attest to the truth of this statement. As a father, I swear I still hear my children’s cries sometimes. One of the earliest games a child learns is the basic “Mother May I” game. In school, we learn the non-verbal way by raising our hands for attention. 

This facet of prayer is most easily stated in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it shall be given you”. 

So like baby birdies chirping loudly with their mouths wide open, Christians need to learn the first step is to open your mouth and vocalize to our heavenly Father. 

2.) Relationship

A group of friends and family sharing a funny group photo
Photo by Craig Adderley/pexels.com/Relationships are about people and their important role in your life

Prayer is a conversation. One that takes place between you and God. When you talk to God you may ask for traveling protection, a recovery from an illness, favor from the boss, or merely to bless the food. In our Christian walk, prayer is one of the building blocks of our foundation. The conversation is an open dialogue. 

What happens if you ask a stranger for cash to pay your electric bill? Or if you run into a family member only seen at reunions and ask for a ride? Maybe you see your boss, from a job you don’t regularly attend, and want to get him to fill a prescription.

The odds are you will not get too far. 

How do you think God feels when “Christians” ask for His intervention? Would the Lord be more apt to answer our spiritual phone call if He was an integral part of our lives? Or only on those Sunday mornings when we are expected to attend church for a weekly meeting? God wants to be a part of our lives 7 days a week. 

3.) The Way to Ask

If a man asks his girlfriend to marry him while he lounges on a sofa in his pajamas and a greasy burger in one hand … do you think she would say yes? How about strolling into the boss’ office in unprofessional attire and telling him to make sure your next check should have a hefty raise? Oh, and you won’t be in the office for a few weeks. Can you imagine what your parents would say if you went to them about getting your allowance and only did chores one day that week?

None of these scenarios sound as though they would go well. Why do we expect God to hold us to a lesser standard?

Do we ask God irreverently? Is our prayer a remembered litany we recite without thought? Are we running through habit, not expecting a response?

If we try to call someone, don’t we wait for them to answer the call? Why should our prayer to God be any different?

4.) Do You Believe?

I want a video game. I want a G.I. Joe. I want a kite. I’ve been a good kid. Thank you, Santa.

Do you remember getting home on Friday from school and knowing it was pizza night? Or believing when you woke up Saturday there would be milk, cereal, and a T.V. ready to play cartoons. 

Okay, that last one might be telling how old I am. But the understanding is there.

When we were young there were certain unquestionable truths in our reality. Cake and ice cream on our birthdays. Christmas cards with money in them from family members. Turkey for Thanksgiving. Fireworks on the fourth of July. 

We knew that we could ask our parents/family these things, and it would come to pass. Why? Because we had faith that our parents could do it and would do it. Then why do we falter in our faith when we ask the Creator of the Universe?

If we can believe that our heavenly Father created us, our big brother died on the cross to take our sins, and the Holy Spirit indwells within us then why can we not believe God for a healing, blessing, or intervention?

James 1:6&7 tells us we must believe and have faith to receive from the Lord.

5.) What Are You Praying For

A young woman prays earnestly with hands clasped and eyes shut
Photo by Arina Krasnikova/pexels.com/What are you asking God for? How much are you willing to invest in your quest?

“My car finally died. Lord, I’m praying for a new car. A 2023 Ford Mustang. Convertible with a V8. Make it a manual. Cherry red. Amen.”

The need for a vehicle is there. Don’t get me wrong, God can and does fulfill our needs and wants. But why are we asking for that brand-new Mustang? Is it to say look at me look at me? Do we pass on the blessing of an older Camaro (which I would totally prefer) which God was trying to bless us with? 

Are we playing “keeping up with the Joneses” and focusing on the appearance we project or are we wanting to focus on projecting God to others?

James 4:3 says we ask amiss, to consume our lusts. 

Unfortunately, there are times we are so focused on what we want that we completely miss out on what our Father wants for us.

6.) Passioned and Fervent

James 5:16 says “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. 

What does that even mean?

I remember asking my parents for many things during my childhood. A trend that my children emulate. After a while, the requests began to blend into each other. 

“I want this. I need that. Can we do this? Can I have that?”

These requests merge into an amalgamation quickly. 

Inevitably, there is something that comes along that challenges us to step out of the norm. To attain our desire we change what we do. 

We ask without ceasing. We determine in our hearts that we will pursue the desire until we attain it. Distractions and frivolity are cast aside in our unending pursuit of the goal. A decision is made to become unshakable in our petition. And we will not be deterred. 

My daughter did this for a fish. Eventually, I brought home a fish. Because of her steadfast dedication. 

God expects the same unwavering tenacious focus from our prayers. 

Final Thoughts

Like any relationship, our walk with God requires conversation. Our connection to our Father determines our salvation. If we ignored our significant other except when we wanted or needed something then there wouldn’t be much of a relationship. 

If we ask petulantly, how far would that get us with our earthly parents?

Prayer builds our faith and belief in the Lord. 

In the end, God wants us to be committed and on fire in our heavenly mandate of saving souls. Every Christian walk begins with a simple prayer of Salvation. And every subsequent step requires a continual personal relationship through prayerful conversation.

So get out those pillows for kneeling or clean the clutter from your prayer closet because now is the time to connect or reconnect with God.

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