Pray Effectively (Christianity)

...if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father in heaven forgive yours" (Matthew 6:15, Mark 11:26). Do your prayers work? "Father, bless my enemy with your peace..." is a prayer that makes sense! A lot of people wonder why some prayers are answered while others -- or their own prayers -- seem to never get answered. Here are some ideas and things to consider, if you actually want power in prayer.


Adapting Your Mindset for Effective Prayer

  1. Revere God. Do what it takes for following Christ, and to maintain your reverence for God.[1] Know that He is mighty, is the creator of the Universe and deserves glory, praise and honor. Your prayer life should acknowledge the Lord in His rightful place in your life.[2]
  2. Pray thankfully and praise God and end your prayers positively. Overcome attitudes like unnecessarily emotional begging and pleading to God 'at bedtime' because - for example, this might cause upset sleep and bad thoughts can lead to bad dreams; be a peacemaker in your own mind. How? Believe that God already knows and wants for you what you need and rightly desire (not coveting or envying). Then give thanks in advance, expecting good results (that's trusting). There is, of course, a time and a place for that pained, pleading and begging. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling", anytime you like, but bedtime is not always the best time. Though, happiness is not the goal rather ask for joy in whatever you experience for trying to stop anxious thoughts or bad dreams, ask the Lord to show you the root cause of these and take them to Him in meaningful prayers (personalized), believing. Colossians 4:2, "Continue in prayer, and watch [for results] in the same with thanksgiving." Everyday thanksgiving can bring peace into your life.[3]
  3. Focus more on the positive in your prayers. Increase (or start) thanking, and praising, and lifting up (be a booster of) God and Jesus for any good things (called blessings) in your life. God and Jesus have promised to bless one who blesses others and who thanks God for blessings.[4]
  4. Believe in God and never doubt. Be wise enough to pray for what you want and be sure that you have the wisdom to believe when you pray, and so you shall receive. Faith makes it possible. James 1:5-8 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

Using Tools to Pray More Effectively

  1. Write in a prayer journal daily or weekly.[5] Make a list of things, people and missions you pray about. You can also write about any progress on the things you pray about. But remember that your prayer journal is a list of things to pray about. It's not a scorecard to grade God's answers. Some other ways to use a prayer journal include:[6]
    • Reflecting on readings from the Bible.
    • Considering how God might be revealing Himself to you.
    • Noting any progress you are making in your spiritual life.
  2. Read the Bible.[7] It is full of plain talk on how to pray, what works and what doesn't. God speaks through the Bible when you read it, not all the time though (for it depends on Him and what you pray for).
    • Read the Gospels on Jesus; praise God, and ask for help "in the name of Jesus." Jesus said, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; He who seeks finds; and to Him who knocks, the door will be opened.(Matthew 7:7--8) God will answer if you wait in His time.
  3. Use rosary beads to help you keep track of your prayers. Some people use Rosary beads for certain kinds of prayer rituals. If desired, use rosary beads to help you keep track of the parts fo the rosary prayer.[8]
    • Each part of a rosary necklace has a different prayer associated with it. For example, when you start the prayer, always hold the crucifix and say the “Apostle’s Creed,” then say an “Our Father” prayer for each of the 3 beads attached to the crucifix.
  4. Create prayer cards with a different focus for each day of the month. You can buy or make special cards with different prayer topics on them and pull out a different card daily to help you decide what you should pray about. The cards may include Bible verses, prayer topics, or specific people you want to pray for.[9]
    • For example, you could write a different Bible verse on each card that you can meditate on through your daily prayers.
    • Or, write topic on each card, such as a prayer for “peace,” “protecting children,” or “enhancing your own gratitude.”

Making Lifestyle Changes for Effective Prayer

  1. Stop harboring sin in your life. God cannot look upon sin. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
  2. Forgive others. Live as God's child that He loves positionally in Christ, and you will be in His joy forever, including in sorrows. He is your comfort. Yet, you need to access His righteousness and forgiveness, remembering that you must also forgive, or you will not be forgiven as a follower. So that you may be more pleasing in His eye, always forgive, as it comes back to you in kind! "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mark 11:25).[10]
  3. Love your enemy and never treat others wrongly. Love one another as He has loved you. Love mercy and be kind. And if they are sick you should pray for them to be healed. Matthew 7:12 says, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets."[11]
  4. Bless and curse not. Seek goodwill and the good of others in all you do and say. Pray for God to bless your enemies with good things. Considering that as a direct instruction from His word, practice it whether you like it or not.
  5. Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Remain in a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude; blessing others for God hears such things as a "'living prayer'."[12] It counts as praying ceaselessly as you glorify God and treat others as you would want to be treated. As whatever you do to the least of these, you do to the Lord, good or bad.

Changing the Way You Interact with God

  1. Obey God. John 15:7, If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Notice, "what you will" should be in His pleasure for you. Sin is disobedience and separates us from Him (out of His pleasure). The Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean temple; therefore you must repent often, be saved once and remain yielded to the will and the grace of God. Whatever you plant into the lives of others, grows in your own life, i.e. You reap what you sow.
  2. Open up towards God and ask Him what you will in faith. God obviously knows every aspect of your life (lying won't help), and He knows your struggles and sins. He knows how you feel. He loves and cares for you without limit. Since, He is love and mercy, He doesn't unfairly favor anyone because He created and seeks to heal and save all of us if we have faith and follow in God's will.
    • Jesus said, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:5-6).
    • Jesus also said, When you pray, do not keep on babbling like Pharisees, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8).
    • Pray with right motives, not self-serving. Let your thoughts be of good reasons, and when you pray, ask yourself whether it is going to bring glory to God or not (James 5:3)
  3. Ask for God's will to be done. Study to show yourself approved, unto God, and to know the mind of God and His will from His written word. Confirm God's will in prayer, for God is not mocked as whatever a man plants into other lives and hearts, he will also harvest.[13]
  4. Stand firm without giving up. Ask for help before making a rash decision. Don't ask pointlessly, but ask Jesus when you need help, guidance or mercy -- and ask for God's will to be in your heart, in your core being. Sometimes God wants us to persist in prayer. Ephesians 6:13-14 says, "and having done all, to stand."



  • Praying against people is not going to work!
  • Pretentious or bragging prayer is not worth your breath.
  • When you pray, you need to be in God's will. If what you are praying for is not in God's will, then you will not get it. Prayer is not a simple "I ask for it, and I get it." God will always hear his people when they pray, but sometimes God's answer is "No" or "Not now".
  • Jesus said,...if you remember that your brother has 'anything against you; go and make it right, then come back to the altar...(Matthew 5:23-24)
  • "...he that wavers is unstable in all his ways and should expect nothing from God."(James 1:5-8).
  • Consider,"...cleanse your minds all you double minded!" (James 4:8)

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