How to Pray and Get Results
Prayer is kind of a funny thing isn’t it? I mean, think about it. You are basically uttering your inner most private thoughts to some mysteriously unseen Divine Being. But somehow there is power in this centuries old practice. There is something oddly comforting and consoling to the human soul in believing that there is a God in heaven–in the form of a loving, gentle, safe, secure Father-figure–who is listening to and caring about what we are saying.
Many of us pray in this way, believing there is a God who listens. But how many of us pray, believing that He answers? I am talking specific answers to specific prayers. You pray, He answers kind of deal.
When was the last time you experienced an answered prayer? Seriously, think about it. Was it yesterday? Last month? Last year? Last decade? Never?
When we don’t experience our prayers being answered, it’s not because God doesn’t answer them or that He doesn’t want to. Often times it is because we don’t expect Him to answer our prayers. But David teaches us that praying to God with expectancy is daily act of faith,“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3). Expectation. If we don’t have it, we can miss the answers to our prayers without even knowing it.
Other times we don’t experience answers to our prayers because we are asking with wrong motives (James 4:3). We might come to God in prayer but our hearts are far from Him. We ask for things out of our own selfish wants and needs, which unfortunately hold no value in God’s Kingdom. God does want to meet our needs and our desires, but from a heart that trusts Him and wants to glorify His name.
So how can we be sure we are praying with correct motives?
Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 15:7 give us some helpful hints on how we can pray in a way that will get our prayers answered. He says:
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7)
God promises to answer our prayers. Awesome right? But we cannot overlook the two conditions He sets:
1. We must remain (abide) in Him. Remaining in God means staying connected to Him. We stay connected to God through prayer, but also through spending time with Him reading His word, worshiping, serving and having fellowship with other believers.
2. We must allow His Words to remain (abide) in us. Some of us read God’s Word only to forget it the next day and go on living our independent lives. God desires for us to read His Word and meditate on it until we understand it and let it sink into our hearts. When His Words remain in us they will transform us and the way we think, act, feel and live our lives.
Eventually, our prayers will shift:
- from “Make me successful Lord” to “Make Your light shine ever brighter through my life to bring You glory.”
- from “Bless me with more money” to “Make me rich in the fruits of Your Holy Spirit so I may bless others.”
- from “Give me my dream job” to “Grant me a servant heart so I may complete the work You are calling me to do.”
- from “Make my enemies fail” to “Bless my enemies with understanding of who You are so they may know You and experience Your goodness and grace.”
See the difference? When we remain in God and His Words remain in us, we begin to pray according to His will, not our own. Our heartfelt desires align with His and they become one in the same. How cool is that! The things He wants, we want and the things we want, He wants. It is at this critical and divine juncture that it becomes impossible for our prayers not to get answered.
*Share about how you have experienced specific prayers being answered by leaving a comment!