How to effectively pray and get results is to pray with an open and honest heart. One needs only to read the prayers of King David to get an example of open and honest prayer. “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
When we go before the Almighty we must of course realize with whom we are speaking and approach Him with all reverence. Nevertheless, God knows our hearts and when we learn how to be honest with ourselves we learn how to be honest with God.
To be honest with oneself is to realize that without the sacrifice made on the cross we would still be unable to even approach the throne of God. To be able to actually communicate with the Most High is a tremendous privilege.
Jesus gave the apostles an example of how to structure our prayers in Luke 11. “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil”
Some of the other gospels elaborate further on this prayer but Luke gives us the basic structure.
However, prayer is something that improves as we grow in Christ. It may start off a little formal and somewhat awkward but if practiced regularly our prayers begin to grow and change as our spirit grows. Our relationship with Him also grows and in time we naturally spend more and more time in prayer.
James, the brother of our Lord, said, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) The word “fervent” means zeal or great emotion. Paul said in Romans 4:22 that righteousness is imputed to those with faith and anyone who prays to God must believe that He exists.
In times of desperation our prayers become much more earnest and passionate. Jesus said that when we are weak, he is strong. Perhaps because when we are weak we pray more earnestly.
As for results, we should tread carefully here. Many times our prayer requests could be in direct opposition to the perfect will of God. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:27) Jesus prayed fervently, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39)
When petitioning God, we have to remember to acknowledge the fact that we don’t want our request to oppose his will. Still, God is very merciful and knows our needs and desires even before we ask and we have Jesus at the right hand of the father, interceding on our behalf. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
This does not mean that we should refrain from making any requests. God forbid! (as Paul would say.) Paul made this clear when he said that we were to take our worries to God in prayer. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6)
Nevertheless, we should be careful not to dictate to God. Many of us do this without realizing it. We could, for instance, be facing a financial crisis and rather than leave the problem with God, we dictate the solution by asking for an increase in salary or to come into a sum of money.
Therefore, how to effectively pray and get results is to pray like King David, with an open and honest heart, preferring God’s will over our own. His knowledge is infinite while ours is finite. He knows what is best for all concerned.
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