woman standing in her yard praying

How to Pray Effectively

Do you know how to pray effectively?

Would you like to have a deeper prayer life?  The God of the Universe is calling you to boldly approach his throne of grace and develop a more powerful prayer life.  

He created you because he wants a deep and thriving relationship with you.  Meeting with him in a quiet place where you can pour out your heart in earnest prayer is a powerful way to grow closer to him.

Today, we’ll look at 13 steps for a powerful prayer life.  We’ll learn how to start a daily prayer time, pray meaningful prayers, and develop prayer practices that yield God’s answers.  

As James wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV).  Let’s unpack some basics of prayer so that we can pray these powerful and effective prayers.

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How to Pray Effectively

God wants prayer to be a regular part of your daily life.  For most people, it is helpful to designate a specific time of day exclusively for prayer.   

Find a quiet and peaceful place where you will face minimal interruptions and feel safe to pour your heart out to the Lord.  

Even if you aren’t a morning person, if you can find even a few minutes for focused prayer in the morning, this can set your whole day up for success.  

Praying in the morning aligns your heart with God’s heart and can help you remain more aware of his guidance and presence throughout the day.    Let’s take a closer look at how to make the most of this time.

Pray Honestly

The first step to a powerful prayer life is remembering to be honest with God when you pray.  God is holy and perfect; however, he also wants a close personal relationship with you.

When you pray, be honest.  Use the normal everyday language you would use with a close friend.  

Remain respectful, but don’t be afraid to be real.  God can handle your raw honesty, and this is always the best place to begin.

Begin by Giving Thanks

After committing to authenticity, giving thanks is a good way to start your prayer time.  

Studies in brain science show that activating appreciation helps us connect relationally—with other people and with God.

Again, try to be authentic during this time.  Ask God to show you a recent moment or memory for which you can give thanks.  

Begin your prayer time by taking a moment to soak in the memory and thank God for his goodness or thank him for blessings from your past day as they come to mind.

Worship and Praise God in Prayer

Giving thanks might naturally lead you into a time of worshiping and praising God.  

We were created to worship and adore our mighty God.  Take time to imagine God as he sits on his heavenly throne and adore him.

You might pray a prayer similar to this:

“Father God, you are glorious.  I fix my eyes on you and give you all of my praise, worship, and adoration.  You are always good, and you are worthy to be praised.”

Confess Your Sins

Confession is another powerful element of prayer.   Ask God to search your heart and show you any moments when you recently sinned against him in words, attitudes, or actions.

Then, confess these sins directly and receive his forgiveness.  

Your prayer might be similar to this:

“Lord God, I confess that I have been irritable with my family, envious of my friend’s new car, and overindulgent in my eating habits.  I turn away from these sins and turn toward you in repentance.  Thank you for forgiving me in the name of Jesus and because of his sacrifice on the cross.  Amen.”

Pray for Your Daily Needs

Powerful prayers also include praying for our daily needs.  Ask God to provide for you, guide you, heal you, and care for you.

God is a good Father, and he wants to meet your daily needs.  

Intercede for Others

Praying for others is another important part of prayer.   God responds to the prayers of his children, and he moves in the spiritual realm as a result of our prayers.

Pray for the needs of your loved ones during your prayer time.  

You might find it helpful to create lists of different spheres of influence for each day of the week.  

Pray over a short list of five to ten people each day of the week, and your prayers can make a great impact for the kingdom of God.

Pray for the Will of God in Your Life

Powerful prayers align with God’s will.  When you pray, ask God to fulfill his perfect will in your life.  

This is especially helpful when wrestling with important decisions or waiting for doors opportunity to open.

Here is a prayer for God’s will:

“Father God, I surrender to your will.  In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, align my heart with yours and accomplish your will in my life.  Please don’t open any doors that are not your will and direct me so that I stay in your perfect will.  Amen.”

Pray for Spiritual Growth

God wants to help you grow into the image of Christ Jesus.  Keep in mind that he often uses trials and difficult times to spur this growth.

The next time you face a challenge, pray a prayer similar to this prayer:

“Lord God, I know that you use troubles, pain, and suffering to mold your children.  Please help me to submit to your will so that I will grow through the challenges I am facing.  Give me a soft and teachable heart.  Amen.”

Pray Scripture

When you aren’t sure how to pray, open your Bible and pray according to God’s Word.  The Psalms are a great place to start.

This is a great way to be sure that your prayers align with God’s heart for you.

You can thank God for his Word as you pray Bible verses over your life and pray God’s promises.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

The Word of God is a powerful guide for our prayers.  When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he answered with the Lord’s prayer.  

He prayed: “Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:6, NASB).  

Follow this model of prayer when you feel stuck or don’t know how to pray.

Pray God’s Promises

God’s Word is full of promises directly from God’s heart to yours.  The next time you feel discouraged, search for Bible verses that name the unconditional promises of God.

It is important to note that some of God’s promises are conditional.  

These promises are contingent upon our actions and obedience.  Other promises are unconditional, including God’s promise never to leave or abandon his children.  

Ask God to Help You Pray All Day

In his epistles, the Apostle Paul repeatedly reminded the early church to pray at all times.  

He was teaching them that prayer is not an activity that is to take place exclusively during quiet and solitary moments.  

In the same way, God doesn’t want us to leave our quiet prayer times and ignore him throughout the remainder of the day.  

He is inviting you to continue praying all day long.  Ask him to stir your heart to remember to talk to him throughout your days.

Are you looking for some tools and tips to boost your prayer life? If so, be sure to visit our Prayer Resources Library where you’ll find everything you need to become a powerful prayer warrior!

Use Reminders to Help You Pray All Day

It can be helpful to use tangible reminders that will prompt you to pray throughout your days.  

Write yourself notes, set a timer on your phone, or wear a different piece of jewelry that reminds you to pray.

This can be a helpful way to continue checking in with God throughout the day.  

Over time, and with practice, you might realize that you have learned to pray without ceasing—living on two levels at all times.

man kneeling in payer with the words How to Have an Effective Prayer Life in the background

In conclusion, there is no set way to pray effectively.   Instead, powerful prayers come from the heart.  

These prayers often include elements of thankfulness, worship, confession, and supplication; however, the most important aspect of prayer is honesty.

God wants you to pray because he wants a close and loving relationship with you.  Prayer is the avenue for your relationship to flourish.

Use the methods above to help you pray but don’t be afraid to change your routine when it stops working for you.  

When your prayer time stops leading you into life-giving encounters with the Living God, mix things up and try something new.

God is waiting with open arms.  He treasures your time together.  Learn to soak in his joy, and your prayer times will transform your life.  

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