In this sermon, I am going to show you how to pray effectively as a Christian.
The scripture encourages us in several places to pray effectively.
In Mathew 18:1-8, Jesus Himself related the parable of a widow and the unjust judge; which teaches us to pray always and never be discouraged.
And while writing to the people of Thessalonica; the Apostle Paul admonishes the early Christians to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
But so many Christians continue to misconstrue the purpose of prayer; and so many times, they end up to make the kind of prayers that even tend to destroy them.
And for that reason, we are going to learn in this sermon; how to pray effectively as a Christian, through the Spirit which reveals all mysteries.
What it means to pray effectively.
Many definitions have been given about the word “pray”; but to me ‘to pray’ is an act of communicating with the divine.
During a communnication, there are so many aims that are involved, which includes but not limited to the following:
- To make a request.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Inquire to understand a topic, subject or incident etc
How Christians pray the wrong way.
First and foremost, I want to help you understand how Christians all over the world make wrong prayers.
1. Unable to forgive those who tresspasses against you before you pray.
As we all know, our first prayer point should be that of thanksgiving; since there is absolutely nothing we could give back to God for all He keeps doing for us.
And the next prayer point shoud be to ask God for the forgiveness of our sins; so we can take away the barrier that prevents Him from listening to us according to Isaiah 59:1.
But it is however sad to observe that, most of our Christian brothers and sisters are unable to take away that barrier (sin) which prevents God from listening to us.
This is because, immediately after asking God to forgive them; they will start telling Him to destroy those they are quarreling with.
The main prayer point so many of us make is always calling the Holy Ghost fire to go and destroy our so called enemies.
But in Luke 9:51-56 we discover how Jesus rebuked His disciples; James and John in Samaria when they asked Him to call fire on those who were trying to block them from entering the city.
For that reason, asking God to destroy your enemies when you are praying goes contrary to what our Lord Jesus taught in Mathew 6:14-15 and Mark 11:25-26; that we should forgive those who tresspass against us, if we want to receive the forgiveness of the Father.
So if we are still following the same Jesus who did not allow James and John to call fire to destroy people; why do we think He will approve of it now?
Therefore, if you want to pray effectively as a Christian, you must always learn to forgive those who tresspass against you; before you ask God for His forgiveness.
Because, if you are unable to take away that barrier called sin; there is no way you are going to receive the answers to your prayers from God.
Now if you make the above truth known to Christians they will say they are calling the fire to burn Satan and his agents. But they forget that God does not intend to destroy Satan until this scripture is fulfilled as we can see in Revelation 20:9-10.
2. Contending with Satan
Another worst kind of prayer we make as Christians is using insulting words while contending with Satan.
But the scripture helps us to understand in 2 Peter 2:11-12 and Jude: 9-10 that the angels, even the chief angel Michael, do not insult Satan whenever they contend with him. But rather, they use the word of God to defend themselves.
And as you will see from the above scriptures, this kind of prayer turns out to destroy us.
3. Asking God for wordly possesions.
Another wrong way Christians pray is asking God to bless them with worldly possessions.
And the worst part of it is that they continue to pester God over and over again; if they are unable to see those things they pray for materialize.
Now when you think about asking God in prayers for material thing; you need to, consider how you normally approach your earthly father to make a request.
You must stick to this 2 rules when you do so:
- First you must be sure that you have not done anything of recent that displeased him.
- Secondly you must be sure that what you seek from your father is what you will be able to use or handle. Because no father will ever hand over his car keys to a child who he knows cannot drive.
You also need to put these 2 points into consideration before you request anything from God; because He will never give what you ask, if it is something you will be able to handle, which will not destroy you in the long run.
If it is riches, you must be sure you won’t ask for too much that will make you forget Him as the scripture says:
When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot me.(Hosea 13:6)
Now let’s see the tips the scripture gives us on how to pray effectively as a Christian.
How To Pray Effectively As A Christian.
1. Do not make vain repititions.
In Mathew 6:7, Our Lord Jesus told us not to use vain repititions as the heathens do when we are pray; because they think they will be heard by spaking too much words.
John also said that the confidence we have in Jesus is that when we ask anything according to His will, He will hear us. (1 John 5:14)
And James shows us why we cannot receive what we ask of God because we ask so we can use for our own pleasures (James 4:30)
Moreover, as we said earlier, you must be sure you are not the disobedient type; for the scripture helps us in several passages (Psalm 34:17, Proverbs 15:29, 1 peter 3:12, John 9:31) to understand that God does not listen to the prayers of sinful people.
The same way an earthly father will refuse to pay attention to the request of his disobedient child.
And as we can see, it is only the righteous kind of Christians that are capable of believing to receive whatever they ask from God as the scripture says in (Mark 11:24, Mathew 21:22)
And since they have been able to hearken to the words of Jesus in Mathew 6:24-34; by not worrying about the good things of life, but rather depend on God to supply all their food and clothing while they seek for His kingdom.
So when believers who refuse to lead a life that pleases God worries Him to give them their own share of earthly inheritance; the story of the prodigal son seen in Luke 15:-31 becomes their story.
And if they are not wise to return back to God when they are done wasting all they received from God by force; they will end up blaming God for their misfortune and destroy themselves in going out to seek for solutions from the devil.
2. Always pray for others, and forget yourself.
The key to pray effectively as a Christian is totally forgetting to pray for yourself at times and pray for others.
Now consider an earthly father, who has two children, one is obedient while the other is disobedient.
Now the disobedient child goes to the father and makes a request for something which the father refuses to give him, but if the obedient child having pity for his brother approaches the father and begs him to grant his brothers request, do you think the father will refuse to grant him that request?
Of course the father will grant the request saying if not for you i.e. the obedient child, I wouldn’t have granted your brothers request.
So we now understand that, it is in our place as true believers who please God to make intercessory prayers for those our brothers and sisters who are unable to do the same, and we definitely know that God will surely grant the request we make on their behalf.
That is why the scripture severally admonishes us in James 5:6, and 1 Timothy 2:1 to always make intercessory prayers
But this does not mean that believers should not pray for believers also because at times the earthly father refuses to give something to his obedient son for no reason but if other obedient children join to beg him he sure will do it in the end.
That was why Paul always encouraged the early believers to pray for him and his fellow workers in the vineyard. (Romans 15:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, Ephesians 6:18).
Jesus was always fond of praying.
Some say Jesus was fond of praying, a little while He will leave the disciples and go to a secret place where He will spend time in prayer; but what they fail to find out is: what was Jesus always praying for?
And if they ask the answer the Holy Spirit will give is that Jesus was always praying for others;
The devil was seeking to destroy Peter by making him deny Jesus, and knowing this Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail. (Luke 22:31-32).
While on the cross amidst all the pains and sorrows, He did not pray the Father to make the pains go away, but rather said a prayer of forgiveness to the very people that killed Him. (Luke 23:34).
Now if you check how Jesus used to pray for Himself, He was always seeking for the Father’s will to be done and not His.
An example is during His agony in the garden. (Luke 22:42). And finally, He said a prayer that covers everyone that will ever believe and follow Him. (John 17)
But today you will find the supposed followers of Christ spend long hours in prayer asking God to do this and that for them, and the worst is their asking God to kill and destroy their enemies, and this very reason is why they cannot receive whatever they ask in prayers.
If only you could spend much time praying for the good of others, you will be surprised at what God will return to you; remember the laws and the prophets: ‘do unto others what you wish them do to you’, which means that those things you pray others to receive will also be given to you.
After all, in John 17 Jesus had finished praying all the necessary prayers for us i.e. His followers; hence He now wants us to continue from where He stopped by praying for others too.
3. Pray in the Spirit.
Beloved, prayer is a spiritual exercise; that is to say, the Spirit gets to work once we kneel down to pray.
And that is the very reason we must always depend on the spirit to lead us whenever we pray as a Christian.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,(Ephesians 6:18)
It is never wrong to pray as a Christian for one second to twenty four hours; long as he is being directed by the Holy Spirit who searches and knows everything.
So the secret is: don’t always plan to pray for a specific frame of time, when you kneel down.
Rather, just call on the Holy Spirit to lead you, and if you find yourself praying for even a second; know that that is how long the Spirit wants you to pray. Because if you force yourself you will end up praying in the flesh.
Paul even showed us that even while we are weak it is the Spirit Who helps us to pray. (Romans 8:2)
In summary, I love to state here that many Christians consider Satan to be their worst enemy; and for that reason, they don’t waste time to rain abusive words on him whenever they stand to pray.
But as for me, I know Satan as a bigger brother; who disobeyed and rebelled against the Almighty Father.
And ever since, his duty is to send the younger ones on errands that put them against the Father; and after that he bullies them in whatever manner he chooses.
So in order to escape this errands and bullying’s, I choose to serve the biggest brother of all; even Jesus Christ, because I know that He is the only One that has the power to stand against and fight Satan.
Thus, I always put in all my effort to carry out His instructions. And whenever Satan tries to interfere, I don’t stand to insult him; knowing he will surely beat me up mercilessly.
Rather I quickly run to the back of the Master, Jesus Christ, Who is the only person besides the Father, that Satan is always scared of and never dares to confront.
I hope you now know how to pray effectively as a Christian?