1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (emphasis mine).
James 4:2 NLT You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. (emphasis mine)
Remember that prayer does not earn God’s favor it positions us to receive what his grace intends to give.
Here are some suggestions as to how you can be effective in your prayer life.
No one, not even God, can answer generic prayers that have no real answers. For example, “Be with us,” is not necessary because Jesus promised to be with us always.
Matthew 28:19-20 NLT Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (emphasis mine)
Hebrews 13:5-6 NLT Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
A generic prayer is also impossible to quantify. You wouldn’t know when God answered your prayer if it is not specific enough.
Nothing is impossible with God so be bold enough to ask anything according to His will. You can find His will in the Bible so be bold enough to ask Him for anything He promised in the Bible or to you by His Spirit (Holy Spirit).
Matthew 19:26 NLT Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
Be specific and be bold.
Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (emphasis mine)
God already knows your heart so be honest.
1 John 3:20 NLT Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
He invites you to reason with Him.
Isaiah 1:18 NKJV “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
If Jesus could ask “why,” so can you.
Matthew 27:45-46 NIV From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (emphasis mine).
If Paul could plead for God to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” so can you.
2 Corinthians 12:8 NIV Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
When you don’t have faith, you can pray for the faith to have faith.
Mark 9:23-24 NIV “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (emphasis mine)
It’s not that persistent prayer changes God, it positions us to be changed by God.
Matthew 7:7 NLT “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
Right now, you and I are thinking about God. When we pray, we connect with him. And no one who truly experiences God can be the same.
One of the reasons Jesus called us to “become like children” is that children often trust their parents more than we trust our heavenly Father.
Matthew 18:3-4 NLT Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Ask for what you want but trust your Lord for what is best just like a little child trusts his or her parents.
Look for ways the Lord wants to use you to answer your prayers.
We are the hands and feet of Jesus, the body by which he continues his earthly ministry today. He touched hurting bodies with his hands; today he touches them with ours. He spoke to people needing God’s word with his voice; today he speaks to them with ours.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 NLT All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.
Ephesians 3:20 NLT Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.