“How Should We Pray?” Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan shares vital instruction on how to pray – the steps to true and effective prayer. He admonishes us to live in the atmosphere of prayer, our hearts continually being lifted up in prayer to Him.
How to Pray:
1. Pray with absolute confidence that God is on our side
When we pray, the devil will bombard us and make us feel sinful and horrible about ourselves. We will never come to the place of being holy enough for God to hear our prayer. Rather, we stand before the Lord pure, transparent and righteous because it is a gift He has given us through His Son. It is not something we can earn.
He answers prayer not based on how great or mighty or holy we are. No. It is His grace. “[Nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). This truth needs to be drilled into our hearts and minds if we are to have a confident, effective prayer life.
2. Pray with a thankful heart
Be committed to thank Him for what He has done, for who He is and for what He will do. Praise Him. Give Him glory. Say, “Lord, let Your name be praised. Hallowed be Thy name. May Your name be lifted up.”
When you come before the Lord, look back and see what He has already done for you and thank Him for all that. Look forward also to see what the Lord has promised to do and thank Him in advance for what He will do.
3. Pray remembering your relationships with others
4. Be specific in your prayers
Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us this day . . .” Ask Him for exactly what you need. What do you need today to sustain His work and accomplish His will? Don’t pray in general terms. Have specific things that you want God to answer. Tell Him the name and place. Let Him know who, what, where and so forth. Tell God specifically. Don’t tell Him how to answer, but be specific in what the needs are.
5. Pray with a burden
Breakthrough in prayer comes through a heart that has been burdened by the Holy Spirit. Read Nehemiah 1. Nehemiah was so burdened that he could not even regulate his own expression and emotion because of the grief he had over the suffering of God’s people.
How do we get this burden? We simply seek it. We ask God to change our heart. We say, “Lord, what is on Your heart? What is Your concern? Lord, please let me understand it.” Then He brings the thoughts and gives us the burden to intercede.
We cannot create this burden on our own. God does not care about lip service. He wants us to enter into the reality of what He feels for the suffering humanity all around us. He wants to share with us His burdens and His joy in seeing these prayers answered.
I was in Singapore for a leaders’ meeting in 1971. There I heard Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, tell of his early years when he visited China. He said that when he saw the multitudes in China, he was broken-hearted. He wept on the streets of that nation. Then he took his Bible and wrote on the leaflet inside, “Let my heart break for the things that break God’s heart.” Let that be our prayer also.
6. Pray in faith
“All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). I don’t understand how it works, but God said as we pray we must keep believing that He has answered our prayer. The believing comes from Him. He is the author and finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
Faith is not something we can work up in ourselves. We can’t convince ourselves to believe. We have to ask Him for believing faith. The father of the afflicted son did that. He said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
7. Pray in the Holy Spirit
Sometimes we don’t know how to pray when God lays a burden upon our hearts. But the Holy Spirit can pray through us. It can be in a language that nobody understands. It can be in groanings and cryings too deep for words.
Our God is eager to hear our prayers. Let us then come before Him in the morning, in the evening, while we are waiting in line, driving to work or washing the dishes. Prayer need not be an activity we engage in for only an hour each morning. Rather, let us live in the atmosphere of prayer, our hearts continually being lifted up in prayer to Him. In doing so, we will come to experience the wonder of being co-laborers with God as He works through our prayers (see 1 Corinthians 3:9).
Excerpted from Learning to Pray by KP Yohannan. Copyright © 2004 by KP Yohannan. (Wills Point, TX: GFA Books).
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Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia is a nonprofit organization serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.