You probably heard that God takes long to answer prayer or you are sitting on an unanswered prayer.
Today I give you some guidelines for effective prayer. It may be possible that what you have been calling prayer is merely thought or painful agonising in your soul.
God answers prayer and there is no Scriptural basis for saying He takes time to answer. Any Biblical promise that is taken up and acted upon according to God’s Word receives the promised results.
Prayer is communication with God and it gives Him the right to intervene in the affairs of man. God is not a dictator and will not impose Himself without your invitation.
God is a relational God and desires and cherishes communion with His people. If prayer is communication then all that which constitutes effective communication should be met.
There should be a sender (you), the initiator and encoder of the message and also the receiver (God), the one who receives the message (the listener) and the decoder of the message.
Feedback, that is, the response guarantees that the message has been heard and understood. If it is God who created the mouth and ears, it therefore means that He can also talk and hear. In this presentation I list some of the basic requirements for effective prayer.
Our prayers will not be answered unless we have true faith. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Authority in prayer is in Jesus’ name, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name: that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14. Jesus is ready and waiting for our prayers. Our prayers should be made in harmony with the person, character and will of our Lord Jesus. Any prayer that Jesus Himself would have made is answered.
Prayer is effective when it is in harmony or agreement with God’s will and Word, 1 John 5:14: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:” In the model prayer, Jesus says that we should pray that the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven. We can be sure that any prayer truly based on God’s promises in His Word will indeed be effective.
Not only must we pray in agreement with God’s will, but we must be living in harmony with God’s will if we expect Him to hear and answer us. God will give us the things we ask for only if we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
Obeying God’s commands, loving Him and pleasing Him are indispensable conditions for receiving answers to prayer.
When James wrote that the prayers of the righteous are effective, he meant both a person who had been made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ and who is living a righteous, God-fearing and obedient life, such as the prophet Elijah. You need to be born again in order to be heard by God, Psalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
And Proverbs 15:8: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” Note that the high priest’s prayer for forgiveness of the Israelites’ sins on the Day of Atonement would not be heard until his own sinful condition had been cleansed.
Finally, for our prayers to be effective we must be persistent in prayer and faith. We need to persevere in prayer.
Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. “After you make your request known to God, you stay in prayer to strengthen your faith not to open God’s ears. If you have asked something from God, let us say a house, a husband, employment or healing, you do not keep returning to Him as if He did not hear you the first time.
Otherwise you will be doubting Him. You need to move on to praising, adoring and thanking Him. You also need to be quick to confess all known sins.
All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible
Pastor Erasmus Makarimayi is presiding pastor at New Gate Chapel