The What, Where & How to Pray Effectively

Shyju Mathew

"Experience the Word of God, in the power of the Spirit."

January 31, 2012

This entry is part 12 of 30 in the series Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics

Welcome to “Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics.” To see all the authors and titles in the series, and to suggest a topic, please go hereSubscribe today to receive the ebook on this series. 

As you may have realised by now that with this series, we are focused on reemphasizing the basics of the word of God. If you haven’t yet gone through the earlier posts, it is never too late. Start here.

Today’s topic has stemmed from the countless times that I’ve heard people say that they don’t know how to and what to pray for. So, come along with me while we discover the tremendous power in prayer.

Is there a ‘Place of Prayer’?

Jesus spoke over the church one of its strongest promise that it would be built by God and the gates of hell would not prevail.

Yes, there is a blessing in praying in places where the presence of God has visited and blessed often but there is no place where prayer is limited from. Whether it was in the den of the lions or in the dungeons of Egypt or while rowing in the middle of the sea – God always heard the cry of His people.

Is there a Particular Time when a Christian must Pray?

A child of Jesus must have the discipline of setting apart time everyday to seek Him. But we should not limit ourselves to that time alone to have a relationship with God. In fact, we are called to go beyond a set time of prayer in order to have an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Here is a simple command in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Pray without ceasing. God desires that we live in continual, unbroken communion with him. Yes, even while you are in the shower, are driving to somewhere, are in the airport, are at the mall or in the privacy of your bedroom – be in prayer.

Apostle Paul says in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Devotion certainly means more than just an occasional prayer.

Prayer time is great but a life of prayer is greater!

Is there a Particular Position of Prayer?

One of the most memorable positions of prayer in the Bible is kneeling down. See some of the verses show us this are:

1 Kings 18:42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.

Daniel 6:10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

Acts 9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

Acts 21:5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.

How did Jesus Pray?

Mark 14:35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.

This verse most certainly implies that kneeling down is not the only position of prayer. But one thing is certain that Jesus did not bother that the three disciples that were around him. He did not try to be a dignified man.

Jesus not only prayed with his heart but he prayed with all his strength and emotions.

See, Hebrews 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” Notice that His loud cries and tears were rooted in reverent submission to God.

While we were in Canada, I had the privilege of meeting a man of God named Pastor John Raymer of the Peace Tower Church. In the time that I spent with him and got to know him, I realized that he was a man of tears. He wept. He wept in public and in private.

I’ve always wondered how Jesus could cry and wail in public. I’ve always enjoyed seeking God with tears but I was always embarrassed about it. So I asked Pastor Raymer about his experience. And he said, “Shyju, when you know that God loves a broken and contrite heart, you need to stop being embarrassed about what people think.”

Some of us have not yet achieved a real breakthrough in prayer because we are too cute and passive in our prayer life.

What to Pray?

1 Corinthians 14:15 says, “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind;”

Our needs, the needs of those around us and the needs of the world we live in are endless. Our whole life would fall short to pray for all of those needs. Therefore, it is important that we pray according to His will.

Your pressing need should not be the sole motivation in prayer. Let God’s will and desire for us press you into prayer.

Therefore in prayer, seek God’s sovereign will. Think before you pray. Does God want this? The best way to pray is to take the Bible seriously and try to pray it into your life. If you are struggling for words to pray, place your Bible in front of you and simply read a line and turn that into a prayer.

No matter what you pray, let it be underlined with the prayer like that, “Yet, not my will but yours be done!”

I pray this releases you into an intimate walk with Jesus! He desires that you seek Him continually!

Remember, an unbroken communion is the greatest key to walking with God.

Some Self Study Scriptures:

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

Ephesians 6:18
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.

Matthew 6:7
But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

John 15:7
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Discuss your thoughts, challenges and plan of action below in the comments section!

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