The “INS” And “OUTS” Of Effective Prayer

By Dr. Chas Brothers

Many are the people I see that do not know how to effectively pray. Many prayers, rather than coming from a contrite or broken heart, come from the precepts of men rather than from God with the help of the Holy Spirit.

When I was a young child of about 6 or 7 years old, my grandmother from my mother’s side of the family, decided it was time for us kids to learn how to effectively say our bedtime prayers. Grandma Angela was a tough mean-tempered Polish woman who survived the German prison camps and resented the fact that her daughter married into a German family. She lived with us during the final stages of my mother’s pregnancy.

With this in mind, her grandchildren’s prayer schooling was going to be her mission to firmly root us into following a specific prayer regimen. Every night at bedtime we would all meet (my sisters and I), at the main sofa in the living room. Over the sofa hung the traditional picture of Jesus in a gold frame which also held a small night light. We would kneel at the foot of the sofa and have to recite the Our Father, the Glory Be, and our Hail Mary’s.

At the very end of the sofa, the end I was on, Grandma Angela sat with a menacing leather belt tightly folded in her lap. If the words were wrong, you got the belt. And because the words came out of your mouth, it was your mouth that felt the sting of that leather belt. Her sitting on my end of the sofa was calculated as she made me very nervous so I was frequently the object of her attention.

She went back to her own home in Illinois once my mother finally gave birth to my younger step-sister which thankfully ended family prayer time. I never prayed much after that but would still on occasion call upon God for some sort of favor or if I had a specific need to be filled. There were always conditions offered. You give me this and I’ll give up doing this or that. Or, You owe me this for putting up with everything You are putting me through.

Through it all, I knew God was still looking out for me and taking care of me. I didn’t know how or why but I just knew. Even without any formal tutoring or training, I spoke to God during the few moments of quiet I would get and then, I would pray to Him as if we were the best of friends. I had no idea at the time but that’s what He wanted all along.

I’ve known many people who are great speakers and can deliver the gospel with great might yet had trouble praying in a group or fumbling with what to say. I was the same way until I learned from God’s great Word to not be anxious and to wait upon the Holy Spirit for the “right” words.

Fortunately for me They were all great Teachers and much more patient with me than my previous educators. Jesus in His many parables teaches all of us the proper way to not only pray but how to be sure our prayers are heard.

In the gospel of Luke 18:9 14, Jesus cautioned against trusting in yourself as being righteous while treating others with contempt while at the same time instilling the idea of lofty, wordy prayers as disrespecting to God. He says, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax gatherer. “The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, God I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax gatherer. “I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get. “But the tax gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

With this statement Jesus then drove the point home in verse 14 by stating; “I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” And this friend is where life changing prayer begins God be merciful to me the sinner!

So as to understand the simplicity of prayer in even greater detail, our Lord goes on to explain in *Matthew 6: 5 15; “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “Pray, then, in this way;

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven

Our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us

From evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,

And the glory, forever. Amen.

He goes on to say; “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

What a powerful statement our Savior has made concerning prayer! Let’s recap. In order to have an effective moment in prayer with the Father, you must first confess your sin, ask for forgiveness, and repent from them.

Pray to the Father but remember, pray from the heart “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God Thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17).

You can not con God He knows and understands your heart and your intentions better than you do!

Offer praise and glory for past blessings, answered prayers, show your gratitude to a loving God who cares deeply about His child. And most importantly, offer up your prayers in the name of Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God for no one come to the Father but through Him.

If you’ll follow this outline about how to pray effectively, you will be blessed by the Almighty and slowly will become a fierce prayer warrior. As in all things, give yourself time and don’t beat yourself up if you feel your prayer was woefully inadequate. Be patient, ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and He will support your efforts!

God patiently waits on those who seek Him. If you’re unsure of your relationship with our Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, contact me. Together, we’ll seek guidance from the Father to eliminate those things which are interfering with your walk with God.
*All Scriptures referenced are taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1982 Holman Publishing and used with permission.

Copyright 2010 Dr. Brothers is an Independent Christian Minister with Doctorates in Biblical Studies and Divinity He is also a motivational speaker and writer and may be reached at dr_chas_brothers@msn.com All scriptures are taken from the Zondervan 1984 NIV and used with permission.

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