Six Principles Jesus Taught Us For Effective Prayer
Jesus lived a life of prayer. His prayer was effective. Not only was he an example in prayer, he taught about prayer – a lot!
Everyone can learn about prayer and improve their prayer life by listening to what he said!
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. – Matthew 6:5
We do not pray for show. This is not condemning public prayer – Jesus taught his disciples how to pray publicly. This is condemning a public show of spirituality – one done for pride. Spiritual disciplines like prayer are not for puffing us up but for building us up.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:6
We must have a private place for prayer. It must be quiet and uninterrupted. Keep in mind that it must be big enough for two people – you and God! You should go to this place consistently and habitually.
We must be persistent in prayer. Jesus taught us that we must keep on asking – never give up on what you are praying for. The one who prays persistently receives an answer. How much you want something is reflected in how long you will ask for it.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8
We must be willing to increase our fervency in prayer. Continual asking is the first step. When we read these two verses we can see the increased intensity. Continual seeking is the second step. We must be continually looking for God’s will, looking for the answer and becoming more active in our prayers. Continual knocking is the third step. This is part of the mystery of prayer. You must have tenacity. This requirement to persist in prayer is a test of our faith.
Our prayers will be rewarded. God hears and will answer. The blessings God gives you will be obvious. He wants to grant our requests, to see us happy.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:9-11
God wants to bless us. He wishes to give us good gifts and we must understand that God is the one who defines good! It may include things like prosperity, good health and happy circumstances in life. It will include things like: patience, perseverance, integrity, strength, holiness, humility, dependence. To receive these things may require a different answer to our prayers than we might expect or want.
Five Ingredients to Successful Prayer
Confession and Forgiveness. One reason our prayers are not answered: we are not right with God.
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear. – Isaiah 59:1-2
We must strive to live holy lives. Living according to our selfish desires separates us from God. This means we must be open to God’s investigation into our lives and we should immediately confess sin as it becomes known to us.
Adoration and Thanksgiving. To refrain from this type of prayer is to be very selfish. We must learn to recite the greatness of God. This elevates him and places us in the right attitude for prayer. He is worthy of deepest worship and adoration.
We must continually thank God in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) because this is God’s will. This means whether circumstances are good or bad or somewhere in between, we give thanks! We must remember his promises – he will take care of us, so we can always be thankful.
Submission. The proper approach to prayer is submission. Jesus begged the Father to remove from his life the impending cross then he said, “not my will but yours be done.”
It is in total surrender that you glorify God. Total surrender opens us up to God’s very best for us. Giving all of our selves to God opens the door for him to give all of himself to us! It is in total surrender that you tell God that you trust him.
Attitude. The right attitude is “in Jesus name.”
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. – John 14:13-14
Asking in Jesus name means you ask for what is in agreement with Jesus’ will – with what will bring glory to God. Then you will get whatever you ask!
Faith. Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Jesus said, “if you have faith and do not doubt…you can say to this mountain, ‘go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” – Matthew 21:21
Do you believe that God can do anything? Really? It is that level of faith that will move mountains. Faith often involves examining the evidence and deciding to believe – no matter what! What mountains need to be removed in your life?
Call to Action!
When followers of Jesus pray, things change! What do you need to pray for today?
Do you have a prayer place? If not, I want to urge you to establish that place right now! And begin to use it immediately.
If you have a prayer place, I will encourage you to listen for God’s voice as you pray and begin to urgently pray for whatever or whoever he has placed on your heart.
I would also love to hear from you. Leave a comment or email me!