Prayer is one of the most powerful forces on earth.
Yet over the years, I’ve spoken to countless people who aren’t satisfied with their prayer lives. They are longing for a deeper, richer, more dynamic relationship with God through prayer.
Especially when our prayers seemingly go unanswered, we can begin to struggle with doubt and frustration—we can question whether we’re praying the “right” way or long enough.
But prayer is really simple. It’s just talking to God and listening as He talks to us.
You and I can be sincere Christians, eager to please God in all we do, and still have honest questions about prayer. It’s okay to have questions!
Even though Jesus’ disciples spent a lot of personal time with Him, they still felt the need to ask Him to teach them how to pray (see Luke 11:1).
Jesus helped the disciples, and I believe that when we ask Him, He will help us too.
As a result, we will not only experience increased effectiveness, freedom and enjoyment in our prayer life, but also greater closeness in our relationship with Him.
Prayer Is a Personal Matter
Because God has created us as unique individuals, simply knowing about prayer is not enough.
He made us to have an intimate and distinct relationship with Him. Therefore, He will teach us how to pray according to who He has made us to be.
Yes, there are principles of prayer that apply to everyone, but God will lead you and me according to who we are and the season of life we are in.
For instance, the young mother with several small children will not be able to devote the same amount of time to prayer as someone whose children are grown.
God has a personalized plan just for you. He delights in our uniqueness and wants us to be free to express our differences as we pray.
In addition to our corporate gatherings, He enjoys spending time with each of us individually, just as we enjoy individual time alone with our friends.
Prayer Is Based on Relationship
I believe the key to effective prayer is approaching God as His friend.
When we don’t know God as a friend, we are reluctant to ask Him for anything because we don’t feel we’ve “earned it” with good behavior. Or if we do ask, we lack the confidence that He hears us and wants to help.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important to approach God with reverence and respect for Who He is—remembering He is holy—but He doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him or feel like He is unapproachable.
When you and I see ourselves as close friends with God, we’re more eager to spend time talking to Him, eager to follow every instruction He gives us and unafraid to ask for help with everything!
You may be thinking that becoming friends with God seems like a difficult thing to do.
But if you are a follower of Jesus, you are already His friend. In John 15:15, Jesus says He calls us His friends because He has shared with us everything He has heard from the Father.
Friendship is based on sharing—openly and honestly. We share with God through prayer.
A good relationship with God is not built by simply running to Him every time we are desperate for help. It’s based on mutual, regular times of sharing and fellowship.
We can make a habit of talking with God as we’re getting ready for our day, driving our car, shopping in the grocery store, walking the dog or cooking dinner. He really wants to be involved in every area of our lives!
However, as is the case with any friendship, it’s up to us whether we want to be a casual friend or a close, intimate friend.
The more time and energy you and I invest in developing an intimate friendship with God, the more powerful and exciting our communication, or prayer life, will be as a result.
And as you develop your friendship with God by including Him in everything you do, you will grow bold and confident to make requests not only for yourself but also on behalf of others.
The Holy Spirit is eager to help you develop an exciting and effective prayer life. He stands ready to release God’s power to bring change in you and the world around you!