Effective Prayer

Written by John Baerg

Editor’s Note: In 1999 John Baerg was diagnosed with cancer. It remained contained for a little over three years and then began to spread. He went to be with Jesus on Sunday, November 24, 2002.  John served with Campus Crusade for Christ, Canada (now Power to Change Ministries) for 30 years.  Shortly before his passing, the prayer room in the Campus Crusade for Christ national headquarters was renamed in John’s honor.  His legacy of prayer lives on.

“…but the people who know their God will display strength and take action” (Daniel 11:32).

effectiveprayerOne of the greatest needs in the Christian community is for Christians to discover and experience the privilege and power of effective prayer. Dr. Bill Bright writes, “History records no significant movement of the Spirit of God that has not been preceded by a very strong prayer emphasis.  And understandably so, because the omnipotent God has chosen to communicate with individuals through prayer as well as through His inspired Word.”  He goes on to say, “Our Savior Himself, to whom all authority in heaven and earth was given, spent much time praying while here on earth.  Now seated at the right hand of God the Father, He intercedes on our behalf.  Since He is our example, we can rightly conclude that the ministry of prayer is the highest calling a Christian can have.  A vast reservoir of power, wisdom and grace becomes available to us through prayer.”

I invite you to join me in praying that God will continue to use the fasting and prayer gatherings as a spark to help set ablaze the Body of Christ and send revival in this critical moment of history for our beloved nation and for the Church.  I urge you to join others who have committed themselves to fasting and prayer and to teaching these disciplines to other Christians, inspiring believers to trust our sovereign God to send revival to our needy nation and world.

A great force of God’s power will be released as we commit ourselves to effective prayer. In Acts 4 we read how the Christians prayed together with one heart, mind and spirit. Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer (Acts 4:24).  The result was a great boldness in sharing God’s message.

It is our earnest prayer that you will be directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit to become personally involved in praying for a worldwide revival and spiritual awakening.  Also, that you will be actively involved in boldly sharing God’s good news with people in your sphere of influence.

  • The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16b NASB).
  • The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results (James 5:16b NLT).
  • The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16b NIV).
  • The prayer of a righteous man has a powerful effect (James 5:16b Good News).

“And the word of the Lord came to him, saying…so he went and did according to the word of the Lord”  (I Kings 17:2,5).

In order for us to be effective in our prayers, we must have these two qualities that were a part of Elijah’s lifestyle.  We must be open to God’s will and direction for our lives as is revealed through His Word.

As we read and study the scripture, we will learn what the will of God the Father is and as we know His will, we can pray and ask according to His will.  For example, I Peter 3:9 tells me that it is not the will of the Lord that any perish, but His will is for all to come to repentance.  Therefore, when I pray for those around me who do not know Christ, I can be sure that I am praying according to God’s will.

The Word of God also tells me that I am the Lord’s witness.  ” ‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord”  (Isaiah 43:10).  This means that I do not only pray for the lost, but I also go and tell them what I have seen, heard and experienced of the Lord.  I go and share the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness with them.  When the Word of the Lord came to Elijah, he went and did according to the Word of the Lord.

Hearing and knowing God’s Word and then going and doing according to His Word will result in many answers to our prayers.

“”I love the Lord because He hears my prayers and answers them. Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe!”" Psalm 116:1, 2 (Living Bible).

Spending time developing our own personal relationship with the Lord is a valuable investment of our time. God has made it possible for us to communicate with Him through our prayers. He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. Therefore, the more we pray and read His Word, the deeper our relationship with Him will be.

A simple guide to help us be more effective in our communication with God can be remembered by the word ACTS.

  • Adoration - This means I worship God for Who He is rather than for what He does. In adoration we verbalize our worship, praise, honor, and exaltation of God. Many of the Psalms help us focus on the attributes of God, such as His loving kindness, His mercy, His majesty and others. Adoration is expressing our love for Him through our words.
  • Confession - As we begin our prayer with a worshipful adoration of God, the Holy Spirit will often reveal any sin in our life that needs to be confessed. To confess means to “”agree with”". In other words, I agree with God concerning my sin – that it is sin. I also agree with God that the blood of Jesus Christ has paid for that sin. This leads me to thank Him for His forgiveness.
  • Thanksgiving - Giving thanks expresses faith, and faith pleases God. In giving thanks we are expressing verbally our gratefulness and appreciation for what God does. Thanksgiving is also saying, “”God I trust You.”" It is the opposite of whining and becoming bitter.
  • Supplication - Supplication with thanksgiving is letting our requests be made known to God. We are praying for everything that concerns us, as well as for the needs of others. Supplication includes intercession and petition. ACTS helps us to be “”on the alert”" in our prayers.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.

I am exhorted to make my requests known to God, but how can I pray with confidence? Four key words answer this question.

  • 1) Abide
    Abiding is the key to successful praying. In John 15:7, Jesus states, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.” Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you.”
  • 2) Ask
    Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7, 8, Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”

    Someone has said, when we get to heaven we’ll find a lot of unopened packages with our name on them because we did not claim them through prayer.

  • 3) Believe
    In Matthew 21:22 we read, “Everything you ask in prayer, believing you shall receive.” Faith, which is an attitude of believing, pleases God.
  • 4) Receive
    If you are abiding in Christ, and if you have asked, believing, get ready to receive the answer. In other words, when you pray for rain, carry an umbrella. John 16:24 says, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”

Remember four words to pray with confidence: abide, ask, believe and receive.

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32 Responses to “Effective Prayer”

  • Eartha says:

    I have not worked a permanent job sent January 32, 2014. I was contracting at a university and then got laid off. I am a single parent and I have bills I need to pay and don’t know how I am going to pay them. I need a job and I need to pay my bills. I need prayer for my family. I am so tried. I need prayer and guidance

  • faith Njururi says:

    It’s so wonderful to have a place about prayer life. May GOD. bless. YOU!!

  • chris miller says:

    That really helped me understand i need prayer for my health as well

  • jonathan mutatwala says:

    Yeah, i bless the name of the lord for the good work you are doing to strengthen and improve Christianity.On my side i love praying so much because there is no other clear way one can draw closer to God like as praying, so i encourage all my fellow Christians around the globe to be prayerful since we have learn t the necessities of an effective prayer from u brother.Thanks,GOD bless.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Seble, writing out your prayers can be a powerful way of focusing your mind and being able to record God’s answers to your prayers. But guard yourself against saying words as a ritual rather than actually talking to God. Prayer is our heart communicating with God because it is through that communication that our relationship with Him matures.

  • Seble says:

    Dear Christians,

    Thank you for your response in the name of our lord Jesus. Just a quick question. What if I prepared my own prayer book and read it at a prayer time? Because I always forget ideas when I stand to pray and loose my concentration skill?

    Thanks for your urgent response.
    Seble

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    good article thank you for this my life is prayer i love praying for people

  • joel says:

    gud

  • praise says:

    may GOD bless the person that do these write up and also those that contribute by comenting, i feel like it is all mean for me, may God help us all to acomplish his purpose for our Life in Jesus Christ Name,Amen

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God
    Lord I lift up my friend to You at this time in there life, as he has many concerns in his life. I pray that you will respond to him and heal him and restore him to Yourself first and then all will come to pass under Your Leadership. In Jesus Mighty name amen

  • Glen says:

    Heavenly Father…In jesus name, I ask that you show me what and who to pray for and that you please give me my proper placement in my nursing career that i only have on paper…as yet i have not found a job…please rebuke and destroy the decievers efforts to stop me from unemployment and poverty…please forgive my felonies of the past and allow me my proper job helping others for your kingdon…clear my background check and make a way through this desert..I have overcome PD and wish to help those with axiety and panic overcome and destroy the works of satan plaguing their lives..teach me to pray in the spirit. forgive my sins, help me to provide for my children…. i need deliverance period.

  • momeck T. Chandafira says:

    thank you and thank you again may God richly bless every one who put up the site.its a blessing we need more of God and less of men.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Luis, I am sorry but I am not sure what you are asking for. What is it you would like a copy of?

  • Luis Morales says:

    Dear Bro in christ please send power Change very can have copy im very interesting WORD GOD please copy thank very much God Bless u bro luis

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Simon, let me invite you to talk with one of our online mentors. They will pray with you and point you to promises of God in scripture. Just fill out the Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor/ and one of our mentors will get in touch with you by email.

    Lord God I do pray for the fears and anxieties that plague my brother Simon. May Your Holy Spirit remind him of Your promises to care for all of his needs and lead him towards a deeper relationship with You. In Jesus’ name amen.

  • Simon says:

    Hi and greeting in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    I am born again and have the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, my prayer is that God will deliver me from fear, worry, panic attacts and anxiety. Deliver me from all lying vanities/symptoms that I feel in my body (pains, weakness etc) I want to grow more and be obedient to spending time and studying the word. Inbox my email if you want more info, bless

  • shelley anderson shelley anderson says:

    I also pray that all who read this that there prayers will be answered if they believe it will happen and let God do his thing for them. In jesus Mighty Name amen

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    dear alfreda— prayer–father God i pray for this woman she wants to travel to europe i pray for favor for a visa so she can travel i pray that the visa what ever has to happen will happen soon so she can get a visa and travel on her expected time i pray for fastness and favor for her and i pray for a miracle for her tha nothing will be held up for her so she can travel soon i pray all of this in JESUS name amen i am praying for you.

  • alfreda says:

    thanks for ur wonderful message.pls i need ur prayers i want a vusa to travel to europe i belive God has done it for me amen

  • Andrew Andrew says:

    Jim, One of the things you can be assured of is that God does answer your prayers as sometimes he answers right away or he makes us wait and he will even say no. I myself prayed in earnest when I was dating a girl who was not meant for me that God would open the door for the relationship to develop further into a marriage. However God did say no after many prayers because it would have been not a Godly relationship. I would equate praying to God like telling someone your deep problems and after you have prayed about the problems then your heart feels light. When I pray the first thing I ask is God to reveal to me any area where I have sinned if I told a white lie,became impatient and got angry for no reason or any other area. I ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins and the next phase I ask Christ to fill me with his Holy Spirit. You see if there is sin in your life that is not confessed then God can not hear you so when your sin is confessed then God will hear what you are saying. It is kind of like defragging a computer if there is so much junk in your head and God will not be able to hear you till you has asked for forgiveness.

    Many people don’t understand the Holy Spirit as when we ask for forgiveness and ask Christ to fill us with the Holy Spirit then the Holy Spirit will give us a peace that we have not known before. During your prayers you will then find that the Holy Spirit will put things in your mind for you to pray for. Often when I am praying I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me who I need to pray for and he will do so. Praying is not just asking for things that we want or think that we need however prayer is an exercise in faith. I am not able to pray for four hours at a time! I pray in short prayers and I find if I pray with my typing on my iphone or lap top then I am focused on who or what I need to prayer for. My biggest prayer always is that God will give me joy in this very dark world so others will see the difference in my life. The very thing that Satan wishes is to prevent you from praying and he has no power over you however he does have the power of suggestion in fact he does not even know what you are thinking!

    I hope this helps a little prayer is meant from the heart and when you seek Christ through scripture and prayer he will teach you how to pray. Often prayer is not a microwave solution as many people pray and think how come God did not answer my prayer? Prayer is communicating with God through Christ and with the Holy Spirit and allowing God to show us his will and often he tries to teach us patience! It took me many years to figure this out. God Bless

  • JIM says:

    It just seems so difficult to try and get what I am looking for..Please tell me what are we to expect from prayer.I have heard people say that God talks to them during prayer. I have had no such luck. I also know people have been healed no luck there for me either. Actually what I want is just to know that my prayers are heard. I guess that’s a belief I have to have and maybe my belief isn’t strong enough. How do I get my belief stronger? Please God help me

  • JIM says:

    DORIS, Thank you for your words of wisdom.. Maybe as I said I am expecting to have a stronger feeling towards God when He hears my prayers. I need to just let it go and have faith in what I read and know that my prayers are being taken care of. I just would like to pray for a longer time. I think I would feel better and I would know that God is listening to me. Actually I am confused as to what am I suppose to feel like when I pray? As I have said maybe I just expect too much. I want to love God and most important be loved by Him. I thought that my thoughts would someday be only on God and how good He is. Anyway thank you so much please pray for me as I will pray for you.

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Those are some great suggestions jpetes! All of us do struggle with this at times in our lives Jim, and I do think that there is a spiritual battle going on anytime a christian prays. When we pray we invite God into the situation and circumstances of our lives and the enemy of our souls does not like it when that happens. Concentrate on who God is when you pray. Perhaps use portions of scripture to help focus your thoughts and prayers as you pray. And continue to take every thought captive even as you pray as we are told to do in Colossians!

  • JIM says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, I WILL FOLLOW YOUR ADVISE AND STOP EXPECTING ANYTHING FROM GOD IN RETURN FOR MY LOVE. I will keep you posted on how your suggestion goes. Thank you again and God Bless you

  • Jami Peterson jpetes says:

    Hi Jim,

    Sometimes it can be hard to focus throughout a prayer time. If you feel like there is too much on your mind while you pray ask God to clear your head before you begin a lengthy prayer time. Ask God to help you to maintain your focus on Him. The time and place you pray might also make a difference. It may be helpful to you to pray for long periods at varying times of the day if you’ve been having trouble with your thoughts wandering away from God. My prayer for you is that you can find joy and peace in your prayers and as 1Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NASB) The verse that strikes me here is “pray without ceasing.” You might find that having focused times of prayer more often will help you to focus on God and not on the bad thoughts that are on your mind. If you find yourself losing focus after a few minutes try writing out your prayers. Keeping a prayer journal might help you to stay focused in what you’re writing and if you find your mind wandering you can re-read what you wrote and continue talking with God.

    I’d also like to pray for you. Lord God, I pray that you would help Jim to stay focused in his prayer time. I pray that if there is anything on his mind that is not from you that you would give him the strength to keep his eyes on you. Lord, I pray that you would help Jim to grow deeper in his relationship with you and that he would feel encouraged through his prayers. Thank you for Jim’s desire to grow closer to you through prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • jim says:

    I find it so difficult to pray for a length of time. I find myself my mind drifting after maybe 5-10 mins.. It is so depressing as I want to get so involved in praying but my thoughts just wonder off and sometimes into horrible thoughts. I know this is the devil but how do I stop this and pray as long as I want without distraction? How do I get the devil out of my thoughts when I pray?

  • Jamie Lauren says:

    Prayer is such a vital link in our relationship with God. John Baerg gives some very practical advice on prioritizing prayer.

  • jazz says:

    this website really helps me to be faithful to God. i always find time to pray and this webpage help me to have an effective prayer.

  • Helen says:

    I find it difficult to pray for an extended time. I try to be in an attitude of prayer as I go about my day, but I know I don’t always do that.
    I do know that it is important to spent time in prayer and our enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil will distract us. I desire to have a closer walk with God and I must be focused and consistent with my prayer life.

  • lynn says:

    There are days (albeit rare) it seems I just can’t pray. Our Father who is in Heaven and also who is Heavenly (as in “mmmm, this is Heavenly”), understands so I ask Him to lead me to a Psalms to pray back to Him. I open my Bible to Psalms;let my eyes fall where they may and I read that Psalms as my prayer. I feel His gentle smile and warm embrace. In doing this, my soul is satisfied and His is glorified.

  • Carolyn says:

    I would have to agree with Pamela. I have had so many questions about prayer and this put it together very well. It is very hard for me (and I do not no why , unless the devil is working against me) I want to read my bible everyday and I just don’t. I even have not prayed for a few days now. Reading this showed me I need to get back into the habit of prayer and especially reading the bible. Thank you.

  • Pamela says:

    This writing on Effective Prayer was truly inspiring. So comprehensive and to the point – Praise God!

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