One of the most common reasons we have for not feeling good about our personal prayer lives is simply this: “I just don’t have the time to pray.” Well, for most of us, (though not all) that excuse has been remedied for the next month! Not only do we have time to pray, we also have a compelling reason to pray which quite honestly was not really on our minds just 30 days ago.
The covid-19 virus is effecting everybody; most all of us directly. However, what can we do to “supercharge” our prayers so that we sense they are effective; changing lives and circumstances?
Effective prayer is not formulaic, it’s not repetitive or found in a book somewhere. Rather it is heart to heart direct communication with the God of the universe. Let me suggest how to prepare your heart, to build your faith, to pray effectively, and then to act accordingly.
- Begin with praise! Effective prayer always starts with the person, the nature, the character of God. Jesus taught us to pray this way “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed (praise be) be your name. (Matthew 6:9) The more clearly we see and understand the nature of God, the more of His spiritual presence you sense in these times, the more confident you become in His love and care for you. As part of your praise time, you can read His word, proclaim His promises in the word, you remember His faithfulness, and you sense the depths of His love relationship with you … yes, you. (If this is not a natural or easy thing to do for you, I highly recommend using one of the great resources available to us through the worship music that is readily available on many platforms. My home church, North Way Christian Community, recently did a series of praise and worship songs which are available at North Way Christian Community on YouTube.)
- God inhabits the praise of His people and thereby causes faith to rise!. Faith is simply the confidence that God will provide what you need according to His plan, purpose and will for your life which is always good. (Romans 8:28) Without faith, our prayers will not be effective; but with faith all things are possible! (Mark 11:22-24) Praise is the catalyst to our faith which comes as we spend time in His presence — it is a direct result of being with Him.
- Now, with a heart full of love and faith pray specifically for those people, circumstances and concerns on your mind and heart. Name names! Ask in detail! Oswald Chambers in the reading for April 1st says this, “Begin with the circumstances we are in — our homes, our business, our country, the present crisis as it touches us and others — are these things crushing us?” I’m not sure how something written almost a hundred years ago could be more relevant! But he goes on to warn us not to “let them squeeze out your praise because it is the source of faith that catalyzes effective prayer.”
- Finally, don’t give up on your prayers until you know that God has answered. For reasons that we cannot explain, some prayers are answered immediately and some take a significant amount of time. (See Luke 18:1-8) Pray until you have peace that the matters you have prayed about have been settled.
Friends, there is so much more. Perhaps we should look at the matter of spiritual warfare next time. We can see how to exercise the authority of God over spiritual powers as secured for us through Christ’s victory on the cross. Next week, Easter week, is the perfect time to do that! For today — just pray effectively!