How to ask God for things.
Improve the success of your prayers of request.
Faith and trust in God are important.
Follow Bible-based methods.
Importantly, please read the introductory article, “Praying for things” to this subsection of the website before going on. It presents an overview of why and how we pray.
And look, it may be best if you read all of the articles in this ‘Praying for things’ subsection – before putting any of their guidance to use. That approach will make sure that you don’t take any of the Bible-based advice out of context, which might weaken your results.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
Obviously if prayers actually can work, i.e. God will answer them, then it must be a good idea to use well-tested methods to get good results for ourselves. And this particular article offers guidance in that regard.
Please note that the Heading for this article does not contain the words “only” or “correct”. But I have presented advice here based on related Bible verses, my lengthy personal experience and the experiences of many other committed Christians with whom I have discussed prayer. I ask that you read on with that in mind.
Let’s get into it then …
2. HOW DO WE START?
It is certainly useful, before starting to use ‘prayers of request’ to get into the best mood possible: relax and open yourself to the situation. A quiet place to pray is always an advantage. Of course this is not always possible, particularly when praying ‘on the run’.
We should next ‘set our mind’ on GOD’S GREATNESS as best we can. Remember (just for ‘starters’) he ‘maintains’ the existence of the entire universe on a ‘moment to moment’ basis. He is also capable of playing a positive role in the life of each and every one of us human beings. Etc. Etc.
And we should concentrate on ‘his greatness’ for three reasons. Firstly, it is right to acknowledge the great power of the God we are praying to. Secondly, it lessens any obsession we might have about our needs. Finally, and VERY importantly, it increases the POWER of our prayer when we do accept his greatness.
It is normal for many of us Christians to pray to God the Father: “Our Father in heaven”, “Heavenly Father” or even “Father God”. An explanation of Christianity’s “Holy Trinity” is presented in the article of that name. “God the Father” is explained there, as is “Jesus the Son of God” and the “Holy Spirit”. Remember though, that Christians only believe in one God.
3. CHOOSING OUR WORDS
Importantly, how do we ask things of God? Well, again from my experience, we just need to ‘keep it simple’.
We just ask for what is needed!
There’s no need to start with, “If you don’t mind …” etc. And there’s no need either to choose every single word carefully. God knows exactly what we need before we ask for it, of course, but he needs to hear us ask. That way he can make it clear, through answered prayers, that he is present in our lives and that he really does love us.
Of course we must follow his Bible-based rules during the process.
4. ASK IN FAITH AND TRUST
Certainly, when praying, stronger faith means a greater chance of success. “Faith” here simply equals “confidence in God and his power” when praying. We TRUST in him. And he is so powerful. Remember his GREATNESS. We are, in effect, asking our incredibly powerful God to assist us … through our prayer to him. As Jesus himself said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” [Mark 11:23]
That is a pretty clear statement about faith-filled prayer isn’t it?
In our mind’s eye, as we pray, we should try to see the positive outcome of our request. Again in relation to our faith in the power of prayer, in Jesus’ own words (Mark 11:24), “… believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” In effect we are opening the situation in question completely to God’s ‘BOUNDLESS’ power through our prayer; faithfully TRUSTING his willingness and ability to assist!
Yes, in yet other words, we don’t just ‘think’ he will help us, WE KNOW HE WILL!
Now, beginner Christians may not be able to reach the level of faith that experienced Christians should have, but I am pretty sure that God takes that into account. Success with prayers will actually help the growth of that faith in our Lord, which can then be put to use in our lives and the lives of others. As expected by God of course.
It certainly is harder for any of us though to hold our minds in that ideal state of confidence and ‘trust in the Lord’, WHEN we really need help from him. That can happen when praying for something we really need: something very important to us. (And I am meaning what we “really need” rather then something we “just want”).
In these cases … where we struggle to be confident … we can simply ask God ‘to assist’ in that regard. And I am confident that I have noticed him assisting me in this way. God simply empowers my ‘headspace’ when I ask for that help. It suddenly becomes so much easier to add power to that prayer I was struggling with. Yes, he loves each of us, and tries to make that clear through actions like that. It’s all about ‘grace‘ you see.
Of course this advice again must be understood in the context of other Bible-based guidance that follows in this article, and the other articles in this subsection.
5. PRAY OFTEN
If the issue being prayed for is important enough in your life, then it is also a very good idea to pray for it regularly as well. Even Jesus himself was known to do so [Matthew 26:43].
6. GROUP PRAYERS
An additional way of increasing the power of prayer is through ‘group prayer’. Two or more people equals a group, and the more involved the better. One person leads with the prayer of request. Verbal support or ‘affirmation’ from other participant/s is also a positive practise. It helps those praying to build-up faith, trust and confidence in the process itself, i.e. it adds greater ‘power’. (Prayers in church services fit into this category of course.)
Also, to my mind, group prayer works well because God can, by answering these prayers, touch the hearts of a whole bunch of people. By answering one group prayer, he can demonstrate that he is lovingly present within the life of each person in that group.
7. NO OBSESSIONS
However, beware of an unhealthy obsession or ‘preoccupation’ with the object of prayer. You know, “I want that thing, and I want it NOW!”
Whatever you are praying for, it should never be ‘more important to you’ than the God you ARE praying to. That outlook will normally lead to poor results. In effect the object of prayer then becomes a ‘false idol’. And as such, yes it is of greater importance to you than the God you are expecting results from. And then … logically … it isn’t going to work!
8. WRAPPING IT UP
Most Christians finish their prayers of request with the words, “In Jesus’ name, Amen”.
Why add the words, “In Jesus’ name”? Well, he suggested we make our requests that way in John 15:16 (in the Bible’s New Testament). And he included the words there, “ … No one comes to the Father except through me …” in John 14:6.
Finally, the word, “Amen” means something like, “May it happen” or “I really mean this”.
Let me please also say that my suggested advice above doesn’t always have to be in place to ensure the success of prayers. (We do have a loving God after all.) For example, a personal request for ‘inner strength’ as a result of physical, emotional or spiritual pain always has a high chance of success no matter how we ask for it. Please see the article, “God during hard times” for more on this.
BUT! Remember … not all prayers will succeed. Without doubt, from my lengthy experience with prayer, there are circumstances that can still stand in the way of success. And when we really think about them, these circumstances should become obvious to us.
So next, let us look at “Prayers that may fail“.