How Should We Pray?

How Should We Pray? October 31, 2018

“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.

“When you come before the Lord, look back and see what He has already done for you.”
We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. It is nothing we attain. It is only by grace that we are children of God. As we come to Him and say “Father,” He truly is our Father. He is our confidence.

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.

How Should We Pray - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

3. Pray remembering your relationships with others

“Ask the Lord to help you love him as He loves him.”
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). When you pray, make sure there is no bitterness, anger or unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone. This is very important. If you have these sort of feelings, ask the Lord to give you true forgiveness and love for the individual. Ask the Lord to help you love him as He loves him.

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. “Let my heart break for the things that break God’s heart.” Let that be our prayer also.
Study the lives of Hannah, Moses, David and Paul. You will find this passion in their prayers as well. In Ephesians, you read about Paul praying for these people. It’s like he is in anguish. He talks about his “tribulations” for them (see Ephesians 3:13). In Galatians he says, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).

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

The believing comes from Him. He is the author and finisher of our faith”
We must believe. Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). Matthew 17:19–20 says, “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’ ”

“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).

Let us live in the atmosphere of prayer - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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.

“Let us live in the atmosphere of prayer, our hearts continually being lifted up in prayer to Him.”
Please don’t try to figure this out. God is so wonderful that when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes through us. When our ability to pray comes to an end, God takes over (see Romans 8:26).

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).

Read more posts on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan on how to pray, go here.

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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.

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