How to Build a Stronger Prayer Connection
- Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Speak body language. Express your prayers in physical ways, from lifting your hands and eyes upward, to bowing down in reverence before God.
Use prayer guides. Compile a custom-made prayer guide to help give structure and consistency to your prayers. While some days you’ll want to pray spontaneously, other days you can use a prayer guide that lists various people and situations to pray about, plus reminds you of how God has answered past prayers.
Minimize distractions. Do your best to focus your attention completely on God when you’re praying. If your mind wanders, ask God to help you focus. Write down thoughts that persistently pop up in your mind, so you can deal with them later. Pray for people whose names come into your mind. If any sinful thoughts (like those based in worry or lust) distract you, confess them as part of your prayer time.
Deal with unanswered prayer. When God hasn’t answered one of your prayers and you’re struggling, consider whether or not something may be blocking His answer. Do you have enough faith to believe He will really answer? Have you confessed sin in your life? Have you forgiven everyone you need to forgive? Do you have inner wounds on your psyche that need to be revealed and broken down before their effects can be overcome? Are you harboring self-pity in your heart? Does your whole lifestyle agree with your prayers? (If you’re praying to be healed of an illness, have you stopped smoking or overeating? If you’re praying for financial provision, are you avoiding debt and giving generously?). Are you asking for a blessing in order to hoard it, or to share it? Has Satan been infiltrating your life? Are there any strongholds of ungodly thoughts or behaviors in your life? Consider, too, that God may still be planning to answer your prayer but is just waiting for the right time. He may also be punishing you for something, trying to teach you something, testing your faith, or letting a natural order of events take place. Ask God to help you understand why He hasn’t answered your prayers. Even when you don’t know why, commit yourself into His hands and trust Him to eventually do what’s best, letting your unanswered prayers lead you see Him more.
Wrestle with God. When you’re facing a difficult situation about which God hasn’t yet answered your prayers, grapple with God over your desire versus God’s will. Have the faith and tenacity to say to God: “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” In the process, God will change your desires so that they line up with His desires for you.
Be both a sprinter and a marathoner. Running the race of faith sometimes calls for sprinting (being quick to pray when opportunities arise) and sometimes for enduring a marathon (continuing to pray for people and situations when God is taking a long time to answer).
Keep asking God, boldly and persistently. Don’t worry about trying to be polite with God. He actually invites you to bug Him – forcefully and often – for what you need. Rather than assuming that your request must not be God’s will if you pray and don’t see anything happen, keep on knocking loudly on heaven’s door until an answer comes.
Engage in spiritual warfare. While the battle against evil is ultimately God’s to fight, He wants you to participate by exercising your authority against the evil you face. Pray God to protect you and give you the power you need to confront and overcome evil.
Agree in prayer. When you pray with at least one other person and God leads you how to pray together, your prayers will have more power than if you were praying on your own. Agree with God, making your requests in harmony with His will. Agree with the person or people with whom you’re praying, placing your expectations all at the same place when you pray and believing that God will answer.
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