Come into His Presence
Prayer is talking to God. Therefore the first thing to do is to come into his presence. The Bible clearly tells us that we have right of entry to the throne of grace by the precious blood of Jesus. So first ask Jesus to wash you with his precious blood even as you attempt to pray.
Call God, “Abba, Father.” Jesus taught us that prayer is a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Therefore, you need to come to God with the conscious thought that he is your Father in heaven—your dear Daddy. Earthly fathers would have failed us or injured us or even abused us in several ways. But God is not like that. So approach him with confidence.
Your Helper in Prayer`
Seek the help of the Holy Spirit. God has sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts to make us aware of his love for us as well as enable us to call out to God “Abba, Father.” He also makes real to us the presence of God. More than all this, he helps us in our weaknesses because we do not know what we ought to pray for. Surely he is our helper in prayer. Therefore do not hesitate to ask his help.
Even as we start praying, let us ask God to purify our motives. Basically we are selfish. And most of our prayers are for fulfilling our selfish ambitions and plans. We need to ask God to make our prayers in accordance to God’s will. This will bring glory to God. The purifying of our motives in prayer is a lifelong process and not a one-time achievement.
Then there is the question of forgiveness. Most of us carry within us an unforgiving spirit. We want revenge. We are full of hatred. We need to focus on the cross and the big heart God showed us there to forgive us. Only as we understand how much God has forgiven us we will be enabled to forgive others. Some of our prayers never get answered because we do not forgive others.
Do Not Postpone Prayer—Start Now
Possibly, you are reading this page because you have an earnest desire to pray. And it is most likely that you have decided that you’ll start praying tomorrow. Do not postpone prayer. Now is the best time to start. See, the devil will try his level best to make you postpone prayer. Why? The more you postpone, you will never get started. And in that way the devil’s kingdom will not suffer. So start praying now. Just call to God and tell him that you love him. That is a great prayer.
Adoration, Praise and Worship
One thing we are slow to learn in prayer is the adoration and worship of God. This is difficult because we do not know how to worship this holy, awesome and majestic God. One way to get to know this Almighty God is to read and meditate on God’s Word on a daily basis. This is because it is through the pages of the Bible that God has revealed himself and his essential nature to us—he is holy!
So when you pray, focus on the Names of God as revealed in the Scriptures. You will find so much inspiration from his names to adore and worship him. You can also focus on the songs of praise you find in the Book of Revelation. You can use them in your prayers. The notes of praise in the Book of Psalms will also help you get started.
Praying for Others
It is recorded in the Bible that, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10 NIV) [emphasis added]. Definitely some of our prayers are never answered because we do not have the needs of others as our high priority. It might be true that we are in the midst of difficulties, problems, suffering and even misunderstanding. So we forget to pray for others. But it is equally or more true that Job’s share of all these difficulties were far greater than most of us are called to endure. Yet God expected Job to pray for his friends who did not understand him at all; but criticized him during his suffering. So make praying for others a top priority.
The Heart of God
God is a sending God. Why? It was because he loved the world. You need to pray for boldness in witnessing for God. You need to ask the Lord of the harvest to send plenty of labourers to win souls for his kingdom. You need to pray for the health and protection and fruitfulness of people involved in directly spreading the gospel among the unreached. You need to pray for people involved in Bible translation work. At the time of this writing, nearly 2/3 languages in the world do not have the printed Word of God in their language. Pray for missions and missionaries.
Though this is listed last, you need to remember that Family is not our idea, but God’s. It was the first institution he created on planet earth and also blessed. As we look around, we can clearly see that Satan has used the world of entertainment to undermine the bonds of the family. So pray for God’s protection against Satanic attack on your family. At the same time, pray that each one of your family members accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour of their lives. Pray that they may be washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.
The Forces of Darkness
When we are faced with dangers and difficulties, we often focus on people through whom they come. But Paul pointed out the truth that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). There is only one way to stand against the forces of darkness. We can stand only by the authority of the Name of Jesus. His name is the name above all names; and all hell will bow down to the authority of his name. The name of Jesus is above all. Believe it and know it for certain.
Confession of Sin
The more we draw near to God in prayer, the more we are enabled to see the sin in us. The light of God shines in the darkness of our hearts exposing the covered and hidden areas. We need to confess these sinful areas and turn to God in repentance. We need to turn away from such sinful thoughts, attitudes, behaviour and speech. As we confess to God our sins, he is faithful to cleanse us by the precious blood of Jesus and also forgive us.
There is no particular formula you can use to pray. All of the elements of prayer listed above will not feature in all the prayers you make. The simplest thing to do is to start praying. And persist in prayer. For Jesus said that we ought to pray always and not give up. So start praying and never give up!