Keys to Personal Prayer
- Pray In Jesus' Name. Real prayer is Christological. There are numerous New Testament references that talk about the importance of praying in the name of Jesus. Jesus even said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you" (John 16:23). When we pray in the name of Jesus, God the Father hears us. He responds to the prayer that is offered in the name of his Son Jesus.
- Pray According to God's Will. God is not a Santa Claus in the sky; he does not give us just anything we ask for. But in 1 John 5:14 it says, "If we ask anything according to his will he hears us." This means that when we pray in accordance with his will we can expect an answer.
- Scriptural Prayer. One the best ways to pray is to pray according to Scripture. John 15:7 says, "If you abide in me, and my word abides in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." If God's word is in us then his desires become our desires, and we can have the assurance that he will answer our prayers. Make sure that your prayers are in line with Scripture.
- Keep Commandments. "And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him" (1 John 3:22). God honors those who honor his commandments. If you keep his commandments and do what is pleasing, then you can be assured that he will hear your prayers.
- You Must Believe. "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith" (Matthew 21:22). The Lord wants us to have faith that he will hear our prayers. Hebrews says, "without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). The Lord promises to respond to our prayer of faith.
- Pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer. Paul tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit. Romans 8:26 reads, "Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." We don't always know how to pray or feel like praying, so we need the Spirit's power to help us.
- Be Persistent. Don't give up if you haven't received an answer to your prayers. Throughout the Bible there are stories of men and women who persevered in prayer. In Luke 18:1-8, there was a little old widow who did not lose heart. James tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
- Humble Yourself. One of my favorite parables about prayer is in Luke 18:9-14, where the Pharisee and tax collector come before God. The Pharisee was proud and boastful, while the tax collector was humble and asked for God's mercy. We are told that God hears the prayer of the humble. If we humble ourselves in the sight of God, he will lift us up.