You have a direct line to God. Did you know that? What an exciting thought! In fact, the easiest way to know what God wants for you is simply to ask Him. You probably already pray daily, but did you know that you can take steps to develop an even deeper prayer life? In doing so, you also find a deeper peace and connection with your heavenly Father? James 4:8 says that we can “come close to God, and God will come close to [us].”
It really is that easy. God desires a close relationship with you, and prayer is the key.
- Ask in Jesus’ Name
Before Jesus came, the average person couldn’t speak to God anytime he chose. But in coming to Earth and cleansing the sin of mankind, Jesus changed that. In John 16:23, Jesus tells us, “At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.” The Name of Jesus is one of the greatest gifts you have, because it allows you to commune directly with the Father.
- Believe That You Receive
Sometimes in prayer, you might ask God for something you don’t really believe you deserve. Or maybe you think it is too hard, or too unrealistic. The key to effective prayer is to make sure you really and truly believe that God will provide, despite how impossible it may look. Mark 11:24 says, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”
That’s a promise.
Sin is a true hindrance to effective prayer; it holds you back from God’s blessings because it makes it more difficult for you to hear His voice. Make sure that your heart is clear by taking a moment to reflect on any situations in which you may be holding on to unforgiveness. God wants you to forgive others in the same way that He so graciously forgave you (Mark 11:25).
- Depend on the Holy Spirit for Help
What if you don’t know what to pray about? Sometimes your situation can be so muddled that it’s hard to know where to start. That’s when it’s important to pray in the spirit. Romans 8:26 says, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” God knows your situation, so you don’t even have to lay everything out; just trust that the Holy Spirit will let the right words flow through you. In 1 Corinthians 14:14, we’re told, “If I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying.”
- Pray the Prayer of Intercession
In Acts 20:35, Jesus says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This verse generally refers to material things, but it applies to prayer as well. Interceding on behalf of your friends, your family and your community at large will bless them as well as you. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” To learn more about this powerful kind of prayer, check out the article “Unpacking Intercessory Prayer.”
- Pray in the Spirit to Build Yourself Up
Because praying in the spirit (i.e., in other tongues) allows you to pray about things you don’t understand, it is a great way to build yourself up in ways you may not know you need. Jude 20 remind us, “You, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.” And 1 Corinthians 14:4 says, “A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally.” Strive to spend a portion of your prayer time praying in the spirit so that you can have the fortitude you need when praying for others.
- Pray to Interpret
When you pray in the spirit, it builds you up, and you definitely need that. However, 1 Corinthians 14:13 says, “So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said.” When you pray in a group setting, it’s best to pray for an interpretation so that others can be blessed as well.
Thankfully, effective prayer is not a complicated thing. Immerse yourself in the Word and pray in the Holy Spirit often. Deepen your connection with God by truly communing with Him. The best relationships you have here on Earth are strengthened by connecting deeply and regularly. Your relationship with God is no different. As you begin to put these seven steps into practice, you’re will enjoy a deeper and more effective prayer life!
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