As we grapple with our responsibility to pray, there are several key points to keep in mind:
The Word says straight out: “It does not depend on the man…but on God” (Romans 9:16). This includes prayer as well. We come to prayer feeling pretty inadequate, knowing how apt to distraction we are. Yet, even that is God’s business. “Not that we are adequate in ourselves as thinking anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
(That’s a relief, huh?)
As A.J. Gordon says, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
Only Spirit-initiated prayers prove effective.
Do your prayers echo what Jesus is already talking to the Father about (Romans 8:34)? If so, then you know that it HAS to be His will – it’s already His desire – and thus your request is granted (1 John 5:14-15).
Praying His Word is super important here. Print out this intercessor’s guide and keep it close by as you intercede.
We would do much better asking Jesus what He is praying in regard to our situation, rather than just begging Him to do it our way. Spirit-initiated prayers include waiting and listening more than babbling.
Which, in fact, is the next point.
Your role is to listen.
When you do your spiritual research, the Lord reveals His plan (Amos 3:7). Ask Him how the thoughts, hopes, activities, dreams and feelings of your request align with His plan. Ask Him to give you a new way to look at the situation, so you can see more of His blueprint rather than your own.
This is especially important when bad things are happening around you. Sometimes a period of suffering is the only way for eyes to be opened to see His Love and Grace clearly.
Pray with the Psalmist: “Make me know Your ways, O Lord. Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation. For You I wait all the day (so You have to show up!)” Psalm 25:4-6 (Bold font mine).
What is the Father teaching you about prayer?