Prayer Making your prayers as effective as possible


Last Modified: April 9, 2004

Question mark Does God hear my prayers?
    "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him." Ps 4:3
Question mark When can I pray?
    "Pray without ceasing." 1Thess 5:17
Question mark Where can I pray?
    "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." 1Tim 2:8
Question mark  What words do I need to use when I pray?
    "....Verily, verily, I [Jesus] say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my [Jesus'] name, he will give it you." John 16:23
Question mark  What if I can't put my prayer into words?
    "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Rom 8:26-27
Question mark How should I pray?
    "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:16

On January 29, 1998 I finally learned how to pray. The funny (or sad) thing is, I already knew how to pray ! ! ! I had done extensive study on how to pray. My HEAD knew how to pray. My heart was the one who was being left out! I finally learned how to listen to God!

I always knew in my head that God loved me. I never really experienced God's love. Oh what a wonderful feeling! I had placed God and all His attributes in a box made of my own understanding. As a result I had put myself in a box and called it "the universe according to Kay." What a fool I was! I have found the door and have looked out and I have seen a whole new world out there which is still only a small portion of what God has for me.

God loves you, too. He loves you with the same HUGE AND WONDERFUL love I experienced. Seek that love. The five parts of prayer I have listed below are still valid, but I have placed extra emphasis on the listen part. God revealed to me that He is close and reachable. He is right here with me! I used to send my prayers in a general upward and outward direction hoping those "helium prayer balloons" would find their way to heaven. Now I know that God is in the same room with me. What a difference!


The Five Parts of Prayer

1. Praise
If God inhabits (lives in) praise then I, for one, want to start my prayers with praise! Let me tell you, God not only inhabits praise, He is reachable and closer than you can imagine. He is right there with you. Tell Him how much you love him. He wants your praise!

On 1/5/99 God told me something that I want to share with you. He said, "Praise! Praise! Praise! Fill the skies with praise! Let it run off your lips! Fill the air! Continuous praise! There's not enough praise!"

Ahh, ladies and gentlemen, there is POWER in praise! Look at Psalm 149:6-9. In 2Chronicles 20:21-22 the Bible gives us an example of how a battle was won with praise alone! The Israelite soldiers FOLLOWED the praise singers to battle! Think about it!
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Ps 22:3
"To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever."
Ps 30:12
"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Ps 34:1
"For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods." (In case you are wondering-the next verse shows "gods" to be idols.)
Ps 96:4
"Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises."
Ps 47:6
"Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name."
Ps 63:4
"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."
Ps 95:6
"Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp."
Ps 150:3

2. Thanks
We have things to thank God for before asking for more! Even if things are not going well we have the assurance that even they will eventually turn out good according to Romans 8:28! We have to trust Him. We need to thank Him for everything. We can think of things to thank Him for if we try!
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1Thess 5:18

3. Forgiveness
You and I have been forgiven a large number of things by our Father in heaven. He is glad to forgive us, so we should be glad to forgive others for what they have done. Plus, we need to continually ask forgiveness because even bad thoughts are considered sin and need to be forgiven. (I imagine we all have a thought or two that are less than pure--especially when some Sweet Petunia cuts us off on the freeway!)

We will need less forgiveness if we keep in mind that everyone we see is a creation of God's. Are we going to be the ones to say that God messed up? We need to look at each person through God's eyes. We are ALL much less than perfect!
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:"
Ps 66:18
"And when ye stand praying, forgive, and if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
Mark 11:25-26
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1Jo 1:9

4. Asking
According to 1John 3:22 in order to receive the things we ask we need to keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Verse 23 tells us His commandment is we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. If we are not receiving answers to our prayers then we obviously need to dive deeper into the Bible and get our thoughts and prayers more in line with God's will.
"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."
Ps 5:3
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
Ps 19:14
"Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications."
Ps 86:6
"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
Matt 19:26
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
Mark 11:24
"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Luke 11:9
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Eph 6:18
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
James 5:16

5. Listening
Listen for the answers to your prayers. Listen for other things God wants to tell you. "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14 Wait can mean wait a minute, wait till tomorrow, wait for a few years. God will reveal things to you in His time. He knows what you need and also knows when to give it to you.

When you are praying leave plenty of time to wait on God to speak to your heart. Imagine Him to be in the same room with you (because He is!) When Jesus died the curtain to the Holy of Holies was split by God from top to bottom so we could enter into that holy place and be with God! Be open to the thoughts you have while listening.

I have found that having pen and paper in hand is valuable to me. My memory is like a sieve- -some things drain right out. I can't remember everything He says. I enjoy going back over the things God revealed to me. If you don't feel God speaking to you, open your Bible. The Bible is God's Word and will speak to you. Then listen and wait for Him to speak to your heart. It is sure worth the wait!

There is a warning I must give you, however. . .if what you feel is the voice of God does not line up with the Bible then it isn't God. The enemy can disguise himself in order to fool you. 2Cor 11:13-15 warns us: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

In case you are of the belief that God no longer speaks to us since we have everything He wants to say in the Bible I would like you to think about a few things. How do you know what the Bible is saying unless God speaks to you and reveals it to you? 1John 2:27 tells us the anointing of the Holy Spirit teaches us...the Holy Spirit is God. If God gives you a certain scripture that is significant to you, how do you know He did? How does satan get people to do bad things or get you to take your mind off the Lord without speaking to you? If satan speaks to you, why wouldn't God? You may have said that God laid someone on your heart or that God provided you with something. . .how do you know?

Enjoy visiting with God. You and He both will be thrilled!
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus"
Heb 10:19
"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven"
Heb 12:25
"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."
Ps 4:4

I have a list with more scriptures on what the Bible says about prayer:
Scriptures About Prayer


I've been noticing that different people pray in different ways. Some people are wonderful at praying for people they don't know off of a prayer list. Some people are great at praying for large things, like cities and governments. Other people feel led to pray for their church and/or their neighborhood. There are many different ways to pray.

Don't EVER let anyone tell you that you pray wrong!! Prayer is nothing more than communication between you and God. Allow God to show you how to pray. Allow the Bible to show you how to pray. God knows what areas need prayer. God has commissioned you to pray for certain things in a certain way. Obviously, no one person can pray for all things. If we all allowed God to be in control of our prayer life then there would be a huge increase in the number of answered prayers.

The Body of Christ has many members and each of those is unique. Each of those is filling a unique place and has been given unique gifts. When some of those members don't do the job God has given them then the Body suffers. When we don't pray in the way God shows us (or we try to imitate the prayer of someone else) then our portion is not getting done.

God will show you how He wants you to pray. Keep asking Him to let you know if there is something you should be doing differently. When someone pops into your mind, pray for them. When a concern pops into your mind, pray for it. God will tell you what and how to pray.

Often I have wondered if I am praying wrong.  There are times when I just don't know what to say.  It is frustrating.  I sometimes feel like I am falling down on the job or that I am disappointing God.  I read where miraculous things occur when other people pray and I wonder if I am using the wrong words, don't have enough faith, or am doing something wrong.  I've heard people teach on what words to use.  Some of those directions on how to pray conflict with other people's idea on how we should pray.

Here's something that God showed me:
There are no tricks to praying. He just wants us to talk with Him, share with Him, and listen to what He wants to say. He knows our needs.  He isn't concerned with our performance, just our relationship with Him.  He is only interested in us touching Him and Him touching us.  We spend too much time striving and not enough time resting in Him.

So, when you are in your prayer closet and are starting to feel frustrated because you don't seem to be accomplishing much, just enjoy your Father's company.  Prayer is all about relationship.  He already knows the needs.  If you don't tell Him about them it doesn't mean He won't take care of them.  It isn't in the words you use, it's in your relationship with Him.


We can learn more about prayer by reading about the experiences of others who have unique prayer lives.  There are many people who have had, and do have very powerful prayer lives.  There are people who are sharing what God has taught them about prayer.  Here are a few of the books I've read.
If you want to get them for yourself here is one way to do it:
Reading Recommendations
The Autobiography of George Műller George Műller
Possessing the Gates of the Enemy Cindy Jacobs
Praying with Power C. Peter Wagner
Confronting the Powers C. Peter Wagner

I've started gathering encouraging and inspirational comments regarding prayer. We can learn a lot by hearing what God has taught others about prayer.

I would
to hear
from you!
I present this information to you so you can benefit from an enriched prayer life. I know the power in prayer. I have seen and experienced what would seem like miracles to unbelievers.
In order to increase your faith and knowledge it sure helps to be in a Bible-believing church. The fellowship and support of fellow Christians is important. Getting under the Word and committing myself to ongoing Bible study has brought me to the point I am today. I am far from having all the blessings God has for me. I continue seeking.
I have put together an explanation of what took place the day I finally learned how to pray as well as some of the things that happened before and after that day. It is called My Prayer Closet. If you are interested go take a peek.


An Example of a Great Prayer Warrior
Nehemiah was a good example of a prayer warrior. We can learn about how to pray from him. The book of Nehemiah tells about how Nehemiah got bad news from the city of Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem had been rebuilt after enemies had destroyed it, but the walls around the city had never been rebuilt and were lying in pieces. This greatly upset Nehemiah.
In Neh 1:4-11 Nehemiah prayed. Pay attention to what he did before he prayed and to how he prayed. In verse 4 he sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted before he began to pray. In verses 5-7 he praised God, confessed sins, and asked forgiveness when he said, "I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses." (He asked forgiveness on the behalf of others.) Verses 8-9 show he had been reading Gods word.
In Neh 2:4 he prayed a quick prayer while talking to the king. I would guess he prayed for the right words to use to convince the king and that the king would allow Nehemiah to rebuild the wall. Notice he prayed WHILE he was talking to the king. It appears he may have been in constant communication with God. Maybe he was "abiding" in God the way Jesus said in John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
In Neh 4:4-5 some enemies of Nehemiah were trying to make him stop building the wall. They were making fun of him and his work. Instead of arguing with them or fighting with them, Nehemiah prayed about their behavior right then and there.
In Neh 4:9 Israel's enemies were making a plan to attack Jerusalem before the wall was finished being built. Not only did Nehemiah pray, he set a watch to keep an eye out for them. There are times when we need to take action ourselves as well as pray.
In Neh 6:9 the enemies tried to turn Nehemiah's own people against him by telling lies about him. Nehemiah prayed for himself. It is always OK to pray for ourselves.
In Neh 13:29 Nehemiah prayed about his enemies and asked God to "remember them." He didn't specify that he wanted God to punish them. He was leaving everything up to God by asking God to "remember them" because he knew God would take care of any punishment they deserved. I like that. I use it all the time.
For a more in-depth study of Nehemiah go read:  Nehemiah, Man of God

Speaking in Tongues
For those of you who are interested I've included this section to help explain what the prayer language of tongues is and what it does. (Keep in mind, I'm not speaking of the gift of tongues where someone speaks out publicly in a strange language and someone else interprets what was said. I'm talking about the tongues that is a prayer language and only edifies the user.)

A Bible study I attended a number of years back was my first experience in anyone speaking in tongues. The women there all loudly praised the Lord in tongues (all at the same time) during the praise portion of the Bible study. The bad thing was it interfered with MY praise time with the Lord.

I went home and did my own Bible study on tongues. I discovered that where there is no interpreter each person is to keep quiet and speak only to himself and to God. (1Corinthians 14 has a lot of information about speaking in tongues.)

I think the women thought I wasn't saved because I didn't speak in tongues. That doctrine may be the main reason people resist the gift of tongues that they have and never allow it to manifest itself. I think that was my problem. I knew I was saved. I had been for years, but had never spoken in tongues.

I have had experiences with other people who spoke in tongues. I would overhear them speaking softly while praying. The ones I heard sounded like it could have been Hebrew from some of the sounds I heard them making. (Not that I know Hebrew, but have heard some words pronounced.)

I had heard where people are told to make sounds like, "La, la, la," to assist them in beginning to speak in tongues. I had to laugh when I heard that. Does the Holy Spirit need help? I think not!

Plus, I didn't see the need for speaking in tongues. The scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us to help us pray. So, why did I need it?

On April 13, 1998 I was alone and praying. I heard the Lord tell me to say (don't laugh when you read this!), "La, la, la." I did, and all of a sudden I sounded like I was speaking in some kind of  American Indian language!  It was fun!  I slowed it down and speeded it up to listen to what I was saying. I wanted to test it to see whether it was the same sounds over and over or a mixture of sounds. It sounded like it could have been an actual language of some sort! What fun!

Since that day I have discovered that it is a good gift to have. Sometimes the Lord puts someone on my heart and I don't know what to pray. Rather than just sit and think about that person and pray for everything I can imagine that might be necessary I can pray in tongues. The Lord has impressed on me to praise Him more. I can't think of words great enough or worthy enough to praise Him so I often praise Him in tongues. Some people sing in tongues.

I have been trying to keep my mind on the Lord as much as possible. Sometimes I am driving or doing something that requires concentration and I want to communicate with the Lord. I speak in tongues. Other times I get tongue tied even when, in my mind, I know what I want to say. I focus on the thoughts and I speak in tongues. I actually feel like I am communicating my thoughts much better than any words I could use.

Since that time I've attended Pentecostal churches off and on.  I often hear people speaking loudly in tongues.  Sometimes I find the same type of thing happening as what happened at the Bible study.  It sometimes interferes with my prayers or worship.  Sometimes when I am in a group that is praying together some people are praying in tongues so loud and so long that they are not hearing what whoever is leading the prayer is saying.  When I am with a group of people I know that my agreeing with what is being prayed is important.  Otherwise, I might as well be off by myself praying. It seems likely that the person speaking loudly in tongues is not joining with us to pray for what is being said.  After all, Matt 18:19 says, "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."  The key word here is agree.  Plus, anything that detracts from the purpose of coming to God, worshipping God, etc. seems to contradict 1Cor 14: 28 & 40, "But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.  Let all things be done decently and in order."  (However, don't forget, I am not the final say on what is right and what is wrong.  God is.)

"So, how can it edify you if you don't know what you are saying?" you might ask. Well......I know what thoughts I am having and I can feel that those thoughts are being put into the "words" I am speaking. Also, there are times when I have no clue what I am saying. Sometimes, during those "mystery" sessions the Lord will speak to me. So, maybe I was asking questions, or praising Him, or singing a song. I don't know. What I do know is that it is a good thing!

I've heard that some people dismiss the gift of tongues saying, "It only edifies yourself." Well, so does eating and sleeping. Is that a bad thing?

Don't allow people's opinions about tongues hinder you. Don't block the possibility of your speaking in tongues by building a wall in your mind. Keep open to the possibility. You may already have the gift as I did. If you desire it then ask for it. God wants you to spend time in meaningful prayer. I know that speaking in tongues has sure added a lot to my prayer life!

Sometimes I think about all the times I have spoken "baby talk" to babies. Now I wonder if I was using that gift and didn't even know it!  ;-)

Thinking about talking "baby talk" to babies made me think of something else. Some people refuse to entertain the notion of speaking in tongues because they won't know what they are saying. They don't want to be saying things that they shouldn't. Well, when those same people talk to a baby in "baby talk" how do they know they aren't cussing the baby out? Hmmmm??? It's what thoughts you have in your mind that come through the "baby talk," isn't it?

I put together a study based on the scriptures about tongues.  You can find it here.


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