Prayer is a popular activity around the world but we have distorted its meaning and diluted its power. We have been given tremendous power and everyone likes power.
There is no other activity in the world that can match the power of prayer. If you have a concern or a praise and would like to have the ministry and our prayer partners around the world join you in taking it to God, you can share them with us.
But, we have also been given instructions on how to unlock and use that power. (Prayer without power is just talk and as they say, "talk is cheap".)
So, what unlocks that power? We find the answer to that question, as well as any other questions, by referring to God's Word.
In James 5:16, we are told that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (It seems that we like to leave out that part about righteous) That is the simple answer to our question. To fully understand, we must dig deeper and examine the concept of righteousness.
In simple terms, righteousness is simply having the proper relationship with God. Just as sin separated Adam and Eve from God, it does the same to us. We are given specific instructions on how to get back into the proper relationship with God. That has to be the first step to prayer or otherwise it's just talk.
In James 1:5-8, we are told that we must believe and not doubt. Although it seems obvious, there is really no need to talk to God if you do not believe He has the power to fulfill the request.
In James 4:3, we are told that we must have the proper motive. It is popular today to pray for more and more material things and we like to hear that message. But, we are told that selfish pleasure is not a proper motive.
We are also told, in Matthew 6:7, not to babble like pagans in our prayers. We need to keep in mind that it is not the number of words that unlock the power it is the relationship!
In addition to guidelines, we are also given a model of christian prayer to follow. In Luke 11, Jesus gave the disciples a pattern for prayer.
First, Jesus shows us that we should address God as Father. (That goes back to the relationship thing.) Then, He shows us that we need to acknowledge that God's name is holy. (That goes back to belief in Him.) Then, we are shown that we can ask for things such as forgiveness, sustenance, and guidance. (That goes back to the motive thing.)
A tool that we have found useful in our prayer lives is journaling. There are many forms of prayer journals but it can simply be used as a way to record things that God places on your heart. Later, you can look back through and see what God has done in your life.
For an inspirational story of Christian prayer, you can check out our Simon's Tears devotional.