When it comes to praying more often and effectively, there are many resources such as prayer journals to help us pray more. But with these resources in hand, how do we learn to pray effectively? How do we engage in prayer that is also enjoyable? After all, a simple “save Richard” or “help Susie not to doubt” gets repetitive and even boring after awhile. We want to pray specifically and with our hearts all in.
Beyond any other tool, our greatest resources for prayer are God’s Spirit and God’s Word.
We must pray in agreement with God rather than our own opinions, agendas or ideas. Instead, we must follow the leadership of God’s Spirit and seek His Word.
It says in 1 John 5:14-15 that we have confidence in God if we ask according to His will. We can actually know that He hears our prayers and that He will answer them. So how can we learn to pray His will?
Praying as God Leads
First, we want to pray as God leads. Before assuming we know how to best to pray for a person or situation, we want to know what Jesus is praying for them. He makes intercession for us in Heaven even now (Hebrews 7:25).
How do we do find out what Christ is praying? Ask. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind what is on God’s heart for them. He may bring an impression to your heart or bring a Scripture verse to mind.
We don’t want to jump into prayer without God, praying our own ideas or agendas.
If we’ve got a friend going through a trial, we often start praying for their deliverance from that trial. But what if God is allowing the trial to work greater endurance or patience in them? He may instead be praying as He did for Peter that their faith would not fail.
When God seems silent, pray as Jesus taught the disciples, “Your will be done, Your Kingdom come.” Before suffering on the Cross Jesus prayed to the Father, “not My will, but Yours be done.”
To grow in prayer, we must cultivate our relationship with God. I also recommend using concordances and commentaries when studying the Bible. You will grow in knowing the mind and heart of God. Meanwhile, His Spirit transforms your mind in the Word. Soon you will find yourself surrendering your prayers to His will even more.
Praying from God’s Word
Praying God’s Word is crucial to effective prayer. God’s words are life-giving truth and never return to Him without accomplishing what He desires (John 6:63; Isaiah 55:11).
As we pray the Bible, our confidence in prayer will grow. We will also have a lot more language for our prayers from God’s inspired words.
The Bible contains much wealth for our prayer life. In the New Testament, we find prayers from Jesus and those God used to author its books. In the Old Testament, we find psalms and other Scriptures we can pray.
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New Testament Example: Ephesians 3:14-19.
Paul prays for God to give strength to the believers’ souls through the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit so that—by faith—Christ would become a permanent influence over their hearts. He prays for them to be rooted in God’s unconditional love. He asks that they come to know the depths of Christ’s love and be filled with His presence to the fullest measure.
Hint: Use a concordance to build your understanding of the prayers in the Bible.
You could pray these verses for yourself and fellow believers, especially those doubting God’s love.
Ideas from the Old Testament
The Old Testament gives examples of God’s redemption and faithfulness. Furthermore, we see the expressions of the psalmists and can pray along with their recorded prayers.
You could pray Psalm 42:1 to express longing for God or pray He will increase hunger for Him in your family members.
We also see the rich history of God showing Himself faithful to Israel. We can pray for loved ones to experience God’s faithfulness. Example: Pray for a friend to be encouraged that God can relieve her from her burdens as He did for the Israelites in Egypt (Exodus 6:6-7).
The Bible also shows us stories of what not to do. Think of the Israelites’ grumbling in the wilderness after being rescued from slavery. Instead, we learn from this and repent for our own grumbling in our troubles. We ask God to strengthen our hearts in gratitude and trust. We can also pray this for others facing similar situations.
A side note: I recommend “pray-reading” the Word as you study the Bible. Whether in the Old or New Testament, you’ll find a wealth of Scripture that you can turn into prayer.
5 thoughts on “Effective Prayer: Praying God’s Word by His Spirit”
Prayer is so vital in our walk with Jesus and you are so right that it is about the relationship we share with Him. We have learned that prayer is so much of a conversation with our God that it extends to every facet of our lives. Each person is so different in how they approach Him and that diversity is beautiful. I go for a walk and have great conversations with Jesus, while my wife loves just reading His Word and conversing with Him that way. It is just so freeing to be able to talk with Him anywhere, anytime.
I believe many approach prayer as something we do. We start there but prayer is so much more. Prayer is something we become. David said it best when he said, “I prayer” As we walk with Jesus, learning to discern, hear and obey His voice, we become closer and closer to Him. We keep moving into Him until prayer no longer has definition because you whole being is in communion with Him. We love the words in 1 John 4:17 “In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.” That is the essence of becoming prayer.
Thank you for your encouragement. Our hope and prayer is that all who read this will pursue prayer until they too find that they become prayer.
Thank you and such wonderful words and examples in your comments as well. I love what you said and so agree, especially this: “We keep moving into Him until prayer no longer has definition because you whole being is in communion with Him.”
Thank you Amanda. Tears right now.
Amanda- what concordance do you recommend? Thank you so much. Do you think God cares if we are kneeling when we are praying or in our cozy spot on the couch? I value your thoughts and appreciate your love for our Lord and taking the time to share. Thanks for placing the New Testament prayers in PDF format. 💕🙏
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These are such great questions. 🙂
I like to use the Strong’s Concordance. A great way to access it (and for free!) is through http://blueletterbible.org and they also have an app for mobile devices.
As for our posture in prayer, I think what matters most to God is the posture of our hearts. (If you’re wondering, sometimes I kneel or even get on my face, other times I pace the floor, and sometimes I even sing my prayers! But mostly I sit comfortably in a chair when I spend time with God in prayer or His Word.)
Regardless of which posture we choose, I think what He looks for most is a heart that wants to know His heart and love like He loves, and one who wants to grow in faith that He will answer in His way and time. 🙂
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