What makes a prayer more powerful than other? What is the secret of an answered prayer? How can we use it to bring a miracle in our life or the lives of the people around us? How can we make the best of this amazing tool God has given us? The way from ordinary to extraordinary is within our reach. There are just a few simple steps to follow. Learning to trust God is one of the most important. Having the courage to pray for a miracle is another.
And we could go on… Having the spirit and the passion of the first Christians. Being honest about everything, including our doubts, but keeping a positive outlook on all (“I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief”). Experiencing God. Becoming receptive to his voice. Persevering. Trying again and again. Having patience.
Here is a list of what I call “the Seven P’s in Prayer”. Or, in other words, the attributes of a prayer that can move mountains…
Patience actually refers to the period after praying. Wait patiently, even if you can’t see immediate results. Rest assured that God will answer you, in one way or another. When I was in college, after each exam I had to wait for the results. Waiting wasn’t easy but I knew in my heart I had done my bit. I had tried my hardest and now it was time to lay back and wait. Do what depends on you and God will do what depends on Him.
Keep praying. Don’t give up. Persevere in your act of communication with God. When you feel like giving up, ask God for help to go on. When you feel you can’t pray, ask him to help you with that too. Whatever your feelings are, talk to God about them. Whatever you need, ask for it. Patience and perseverance are very important in any human activity. Without them, you will never cross that edge to achieving the best performances.
Be personal. Use your own words. Describe how you feel in an honest and straightforward way. Remember God knows your heart anyway, so there is no need to hide anything. Let the words flow from inside and when they don’t come, remember God can see beyond words. The strength of a prayer is not measured in what you say, but in how you say it and in how you feel. Sometimes the silence is the most powerful prayer. I’ve met someone who was often lost for words when praying but her emotion was real. She told me that there were times when all she could say was “You know, my Lord. You know, my Lord.” There was no need for anything else, because, indeed, the Lord knew what she meant and what her prayer was all about.
A powerful prayer can move mountains. But what makes a powerful prayer? When Jesus prayed, He prayed with authority and taught his disciples to do the same. He said: pray as if you’ve already received what you are praying for. What exactly did he mean? How can we gain that confidence? How did Jesus gain it? Through a close relationship with the Father. Through experience. The first time when we ask for something, we are reluctant because we don’t know whether we are going to get it or not. But as we learn how God works, as we learn to distinguish His voice among the confusing whispers of this world, we also learn to rely on Him. We learn to trust Him. We learn to love Him. That is what it’s all about. Faith, trust, love. We are not talking to a stranger anymore. We’re talking to our friend, to the One who knows everything about us, who loves us for who we are and wants us to have the best, here and in Eternity.
Passion is putting your heart and soul into something. You can’t be cold-hearted in prayer. It is the heat that rises up to the throne of God, it is the flame that pierces the sky and makes its way to the heart of the Father. God loves passion. As a Creator and an artist, He knows that nothing great is achieved without passion. Sometimes passion involves pain and tears, making yourself vulnerable, becoming exposed, giving everything. But it’s a risk that is worth taking. And in relationship with God, it might prove not to be a risk at all.
‘Profound’ is a synonym for ‘deep’. A mountain-moving prayer has to be as deep as deep can be. Now ‘deep’ can be understood in several ways. A profound prayer can be a prayer reflecting your most hidden inner feelings; a prayer that goes much beyond the surface, into places you normally don’t reveal to anybody. A profound prayer can also refer to a prayer that plunges deeply into the causes and roots of exterior things and circumstances. Both these aspects are very important. When you ask for a miracle, you already go into ‘profound’ territory. Unknowingly, you step into a realm where faith stands face to face with physics, medicine, philosophy, history, psychology, and it has to prove stronger than any of them. It is quite a challenge! But as it has been proved many times, it can stand its ground and pass the test.
We don’t know the complex mechanisms of this universe and how it all works. But we do know there is a balance between good and evil, between positive and negative. The very laws of Chemistry and Physics prove it. God doesn’t ask us to understand. But He does want us to stick to the positive side. The most minor of our thoughts can alter the balance of the universe. We’ll never know how much good we’ve brought into the world by one single positive thought, word or action. But we do know praying is one of those things that can mysteriously alter this balance. It is, in a way, like throwing stones into a river. Each time we struggle to throw further and we can watch the stone as it goes but only up to a certain point. We’ll never know how far and how deep it went beyond the surface.