Powerful and Effective Prayer

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16b

You and I were created to have an unbroken relationship with God and others. We were always meant to be in a loving functional relationship demonstrated by continuous and clear communication. However, the fall of Adam and Eve fractured our relationship with God, ourselves, others and the rest of creation. Jesus came to reconcile all of these relationships as our sacrifice and mediator. He came to give us His righteousness and take our sin upon Himself on the cross. We now once again have open communication with our creator through Christ. (Eph. 2:18; 3:12).

God wants His children to share their heart and mind with Him. He also wants to continually reveal Himself to us as our Heavenly Father, God, saviour, giver of eternal life, provider, healer, comforter, counsellor, judge, convictor of sin, place of refuge for the oppressed, encourager, giver of Spiritual gifts and so much more.

As we get deeper into His Word and prayer the more we get to know God and ourselves (internal reflection, confession, repentance).

Don’t listen to our works-driven culture, prayer is the most practical and powerful activity we can practice alone and corporately. Some see prayer as a waste of time, but Christians see it as a powerful way to commune with God – a weapon to overcome temptation and see God move mightily here on earth. All throughout His life, and even on the night of His betrayal and arrest, Jesus practiced the spiritual discipline of prayer. Knowing His arrest and crucifixion were imminent, Jesus walked out at night to the olive grove called Gethsemane just outside the Old City of Jerusalem with His closest disciples to pray! Prayer is not optional for followers of Jesus. It is a privilege and a command from God that we pray.

Prayer can happen in many different ways and God answers prayers in many different ways. To mention a few kinds of prayer: the prayer of worship (Acts 13: 2-3), the prayer of faith (James 5:15), the prayer of agreement/corporate prayer (Acts 1:14), the prayer of thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6), the prayer of request/supplication (Phil. 4:6), the prayer of consecration (Matt. 26:39) and the prayer of intercession (1 Tim. 2:1).

Regardless of which type of prayers you are praying it’s good to remember these 7 points:

1. Pray in faith, without doubting (James 1:6; 5:15)
If you struggle with unbelief, be honest with yourself and others, and ask God to help you with your unbelief (Matt. 9:24). Fight your unbelief with the Word of God. Apostle Paul writes in Romans 10:17, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Do not let doubt turn into unbelief. Remove the weeds of doubt and plant God’s Word like good incorruptible seeds in your heart and pray for God to make it grow and bear good fruit in your life.

2. Pray continuously (2 Thess. 5:17)
Create a rhythm of daily prayer. For example, start your morning with prayer like King David and Jesus (Mark 1:35; Psalm 5:3). Enter into prayer whenever you experience fear, anxiety and anger. Set prayer apart and make it part of your lifestyle. The more you pray, the more you want to pray. Perhaps put prayer into your calendar and schedule it like any other important meeting. Don’t give God your leftover time or have the attitude of “I get to it when I get to it.”

3. Pray steadfastly
Keep praying firmly through good times and hard times. Through seemingly unanswered prayers, trials, grief, sadness and pain. Remain resolute and unwavering. Prayer is a practice that requires discipline and perseverance, so it makes sense that we also pray to God to keep us prayerful. It is okay if we struggle in prayer and wrestle with it; let the Holy Spirit and God’s Word move and direct you in prayer.

4. Pray watchfully
Watch and pray (Matt. 26:41; Luke 21:34; 1 Peter 5:8). Stay vigilant and avoid distractions that draw you away from God. Be alert! Be mentally awake and sober! Keep your eyes on Jesus through His Word and in prayer (Heb. 12:2). Look for ways to give God thanks for His answers to your prayers. Pray with expectancy, but always with the attitude of gratitude for however and whenever God wants to answer your prayers. When we are praying with the belief that God will answer our prayers we will vigilantly watch for His move in response to our prayers.

5. Pray with thanksgiving
Keep pressing forward in prayer with the joy of thanksgiving, knowing that God is with us and that He answers prayers in His way and in his timing (Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:1). We are to pray with thanksgiving in every and any circumstance – not just when we get what we want or when we feel like it, but as an act of our will and obedience. When you and I actively and proactively give thanks in prayer, it helps us to remember that God has and always will remain faithful.

6. Pray Scripturally
Our heavenly Father loves it when we let the Bible guide our prayers. Like it would bring great joy to a father to know his children hear his words, hold dear to them, believe them to be true and repeat them. God the Father loves it when your prayers are filled with scripture. You can even take Apostle Paul’s prayers and make them your own. Below I have included a few of his written prayers in the Bible:

I. Ephesians 1:17-19a
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him–since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened–so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe.

II. Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that according to the wealth of his glory [the Father] may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

III. Philippians 1:9-11
And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

7. Pray for and with others
Prayer is meant to change people, things and circumstances. It is also meant to make us outwardly focused, thinking not just about our own interests, but also of the interests of others. Prayer is done in the privacy of your own home and in a communal setting. Prayer is meant to unite and knit God’s people together. By praying for and with others we become invested in each other’s struggles and triumphs. Prayer acts as a glue that binds the church together. Prayer makes us stronger.

Shall we pray?