by Kenneth Copeland
Gloria is known as the cook in the family. Right about this time each year, her red cookbook comes out and she begins planning and preparing. Many of her recipes have been passed down and shared by family members over the years. The pages are worn and certain recipe cards have turned yellow. But, one thing still remains the same—those recipes still work!
I have a tried-and-true recipe that I’d like to share with you this Christmas. It is a recipe for effective prayer. Just as with Gloria’s recipes, if you leave out even just one ingredient, you won’t get the desired result.
Early in my ministry, I learned a vital lesson: For any effort to be successful, it must be backed by prayer. Effective praying is the key to success in every area of your life.
So, what are you struggling with this Christmas? What endeavors do you want to be successful at now and in the future?
I’m sure you have a long list! It’s time to back your life with effective prayer. Below are five key ingredients you will want to include in your prayer recipe so that you get results!
1. Adopt an Attitude of Prayer
Prayer is more than just time spent with God. It’s not just an emotional release, nor is it an escape valve. It is much more than asking God for a favor. Most importantly, it is not a religious exercise.
Prayer is an attitude.
An attitude of prayer is a state of being, in which you are living in constant contact with your heavenly Father.
The Lord instructs us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV), and “always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1, KJV).
James 5:16, NKJV, says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
These scriptures illustrate what an attitude of prayer looks like, and how to get the results you’re hoping for. When you don’t have an attitude of prayer, you’re often just shooting some scatter-shot type of prayer, and hoping something might happen.
2. Pray the Will of God
Praying the will of God is the only kind of praying that can consistently and confidently be expected to bring results. In order to do that, you have to grab your Bible and find out what the will of God is.
God’s WORD is His will. He has made some very specific promises, and it’s His will to fulfill every one of them.
When you’re praying about something, find promises from the Bible that apply to your situation, and pray the answer—not the problem.
Do you need healing in your body? Don’t pray what the doctor says, but instead pray, “By His stripes I am healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Do you have financial needs? Don’t pray your problem. Pray what God has said He will do: “My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
God wants His will done on earth. So, before you pray, make sure you pray His will, and expect God to move.
3. Have Confidence in Your Prayer
God’s WORD says that we are to be confident that God hears our prayers and that He will give us what we ask for.
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” – 1 John 5:14-15
How can we develop that kind of confidence? John 15:7 gives us the answer: “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!”
His words remain in us when we meditate on them and do what He says. When we do this, we are exercising our faith and living according to The WORD of God. This gives us confidence that we are qualified to receive that for which we ask.
The next step of confidence is to believe that we receive our answer according to Mark 11:24: “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”
So when you pray, believe that your prayers have been heard and that you’ve already received the answer.
4. Thank and Praise God for the Answer
Sincere thanksgiving and praise are critical to a successful prayer life. They are more than just words, because they communicate your heart of gratitude to God and infuse your prayers with power.
Once you have believed that you have received the answer to your prayer, put your faith in action by thanking God and praising Him for the answer. Psalm 22:3 says that when you do that, God will inhabit your praises.
You can be sure that two things are present when God inhabits your praises: His presence and His power. You can’t separate His power from His presence. If you want God’s presence and power moving in your situations, begin thanking and praising Him for answering your prayers.
Avoid Prayer Hindrances
God’s desire is to answer your prayers when you pray according to His will. Unanswered prayer is not the result of God’s unwillingness to use His power, but is often the result of hindrances that block the answers you seek.
Below are the most common hindrances to your prayers:
Doubt and Unbelief
Doubt comes from ignorance of God’s WORD. For example, many have the idea that God will no longer heal people, or they think He is not interested in their financial affairs. Consequently, their prayers are hindered because they do not know what God’s WORD actually says.
To get rid of doubt, you must educate yourself about what God’s WORD says by studying the Bible.
Unbelief is when a man knows God’s WORD, but does not believe it. Instead, he chooses to believe only what he can feel and see—the natural circumstances. His prayers are hindered because He does not have confidence, or faith, in God’s WORD.
To get rid of unbelief, you must believe what God’s WORD says and make it the final authority in your life.
Unforgiveness and Strife
Next to doubt and unbelief, one of the best ways for you to not get your prayers answered is to refuse to forgive someone who’s wronged you and act in strife. Mark 11:25-26 directly addresses this: “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
In this verse, Jesus was teaching forgiveness before the cross, to those trying to gain God’s approval through fulfilling the law. Today, after the cross, God forgives our sins when we accept Jesus as our LORD, so our refusal to forgive does not mean we aren’t forgiven.
So, to put this verse in perspective, we could rephrase it to say: “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, because your Father in heaven has forgiven you.”
God wants you to forgive because He has forgiven you. When you forgive, you are exercising God’s love toward others. If you are not walking in God’s love toward others because of unforgiveness, your prayers will be hindered, and you will likely begin to act in strife.
Strife is merely acting on unforgiveness. The dictionary defines strife as “angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues; conflict.”
James 3:16, KJV, tells us the consequences of strife: “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
The quickest way to stop strife is to forgive. When you do that, your prayers will no longer be hindered, and you’re on your way to seeing results!
A Recipe for Prayer Success
You can have powerful and effective prayer in your life this Christmas. Add the right ingredients of an attitude of prayer, praying God’s will, believing that you receive, praising God for His answers, and shaking off hindrances, and God will show Himself strong on your behalf. His tried-and-true recipe never fails!
Dare to Shine His Light on Your Prayer Life!
- Make prayer a family priority this Christmas. Determine things you can pray for, and go through each ingredient in the recipe for prayer success together.
- Forgive all who have hurt and wronged you. Commit to avoiding strife—even if it means biting your tongue when you think you have something to say.
- Study The WORD and take doubtful and unbelieving thoughts captive. Refuse to entertain them. You wouldn’t let a criminal come into your house and take charge of the atmosphere. Those thoughts are just as dangerous. Keep them out!
- When you pray, praise and worship God for the answer. Set a timer on your phone for every hour to stop and praise God for answering your biggest prayer. Don’t give yourself any time to doubt that what He says is true. Expect an answer to your prayer!
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