For many people, the purpose of prayer is to fulfill their desires and wishes-to get God to give them what they want. Motivated by selfishness and greed, they suffer from the “gimmies,”-that is, “give me this and give me that.” Few of these prayers are answered. Most people find personal private prayer very laborious. They find it difficult, if not impossible, to spend much time in prayer. Since they seldom receive answers to their prayers, they develop an attitude of distrust and disgust for God. Perhaps Job best expressed the attitude of some when he said: “What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” (Job 21:15). Could this be the problem of many today? If one is having difficulty praying or not receiving answers, what can one do to change this situation?
Let’s list some suggestions that may be beneficial.
To Profit From Prayer One Must Pray
First of all, one cannot expect to profit from prayer unless he spends time praying. This may seem so simple that it is not worth mentioning, but the fact is one who never prays will never receive answers from God. The Old Testament is replete with examples of prayer. The prophet Samuel certainly recognized the importance of prayer. He could see that the people of Israel were making a serious mistake. They no longer wanted judges to rule over them. Instead, they wanted a king like the nations around them. God allowed them to make this mistake, then Samuel told the people: “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Sam. 12:23). Samuel’s prayer was directed for the best interests of the people and not his own.
Having an interest in others is a noble use of prayer, far superior to praying for our selfish desires. The Apostle Paul demonstrated this same attitude. In Colossians 1:9 he wrote: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” While we should pray for our personal needs, we should recognize that the needs of others are equally important.
Jesus emphasized the importance of prayer by this example: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1), that is, they should not become discouraged and give up. One thing is certain; prayer is a personal matter between each Christian and God. To receive answers to prayer we must pray. But how should we pray? Even the disciples asked Jesus that question.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Matt. 6:5-8)
Jesus pointed out that even hypocrites pray, but such public prayers are a sham for the purpose of show. He said prayer should generally be in private between each indivisual and God. As God already knows our needs, He said that it is useless to use vain repetitions.
Continuing, Jesus gave a guideline for us to follow-an outline on how to pray,
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matt. 6:9-15)
Notice the instruction here. The prayer begins by acknowledging God’s great glory and power, and showing appreciation for all His graces and benefits. The prayer begins by extolling God and expressing to Him the gratitude He deserves. This places us in the proper frame of mind and helps us to realize we are speaking to the Great Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
Next, we should pray for the Work of God-that is, His purpose and plan- the Kingdom of God, and what He is working out and accomplishing on this earth. By this means we will be praying for God’s interests. And because God’s interests involve mankind as a whole, we will be praying for others as well as ourselves.
Then we should pray for our daily needs. All that exists on this earth comes from God by means of the sun and soil. We are indebted to Him for our physical lives and all we possess. The basic needs of man are food, clothing, and shelter. Yet millions of people lack these fundamental requirements. How thankful we should be for what we possess. But there are also spiritual needs that go beyond the physical bread of life. This is the spiritual bread of life-the knowledge of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit. While many possess the physical bread of life, they do not possess the spiritual bread of life. Without the spiritual bread of life, we cannot have any meaningful relationship with God, and we will never achieve the purpose for being on this earth.
We should pray that God would forgive us our offenses and that we might have the graciousness to forgive those who have offended us. Because Jesus said: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15). Jesus added: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment . . . . Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5:22-24). One cannot properly pray if he is full of bitterness and wrath against another. His prayer life will be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7).
We should pray that we might not be led into temptation, and that we should be delivered from the power of Satan-the invisible ruler of this world. The prayer then ends by acknowledging God’s great Sovereign power and our complete dependence upon Him for all that is important in life.
When praying to God it is absolutely imperative to be honest and open. While God already knows our hearts and minds, our attitude and how we think, He wants to hear it from us. Jesus said: “. . . Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matt. 6:8). Nevertheless, He said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7). It is futile to try to hide anything from God. We read: “The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity” (Ps. 94:11). What God desires is a willingness to be completely open with Him and to reveal even our most intimate thoughts and desires. This is why Jesus said to pray in privacy (Matt. 6:6). There are things we say to God that need not be said to any other human being. The reason the publican was heard was because he was completely open and honest. He hid nothing. Alone and by himself he acknowledged the things that made him a sinner. Alone and by himself he could not be distracted or interrupted.
For Prayer to Be Effective
One Must Pray to the True God
Many people do not comprehend the supreme or Ultimate Reality. They do not view God as absolute. They do not know God and have never had contact with Him. Attempts to pray under these circumstances are generally futile. Many idols have been placed ahead of the true God. An idol is not necessarily an image; it is anything that takes the place of God. Perhaps the most prevalent idol of all is the self. Anytime one places his or her own desires and interests ahead of God, an idol has been created.
Who is the god many people worship today? The answer: Satan the Devil! Consider this: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world . . . . ” (Rev. 12:9). The Bible plainly states that Satan is the present god of this world. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). We are to give glory and honor to the true God, not to Satan (Rev. 14:6-7). Many professing Christians have been deceived into worshipping Satan by Satan’s ministers. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:14-15). Satan is the prince of the power of the air, the god many people follow today. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).
When Christ came with the gospel, He brought the message of the coming Kingdom of God. At His return that Kingdom will be comprised of a King, territory, laws, and subjects. Christ will rule over the entire world. He will not only be King, but Lord also, worthy of all worship. Paul brought the same message-the message of the Kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). God sent him to the Gentiles and instructed him to ” . . . open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18). True Christians have been delivered from the power of Satan. They are the people whose prayers are effective. Why? They have removed all vestiges of idolatry from their lives and have placed God above all. Jesus said: “If any man come to me, and hate not [love less by comparison] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). Those who abide by this instruction are the people who worship in spirit and serve the true God alone. Their prayers are answered.
To Make Prayer Effective
One Must Obey God
Obedience to the commandments of God is a prerequisite. Many profess to keep God’s commandments, but do they? Would God honor the prayers of a liar-a violation of the ninth commandment? Not likely. The Apostle John wrote: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Here is what God says about sin: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2). God does not hear lawbreakers. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9).
When King Saul turned from God’s instruction, here is what Samuel told him:
Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Sam. 15:22-23)
Why do true Christians receive answers to their prayers? The Apostle John tells us: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). A man that Jesus healed told the Pharisees: “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9:31). This man understood what Jesus meant when He said: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
Truly, we cannot expect to receive answers to prayers unless we are making every effort to obey God according to the best of our ability with the understanding we possess.
One Cannot Make Prayer Effective
While in a Wrong Spirit
A wrong spirit or attitude directed toward God or toward one’s fellow man is detrimental to effective prayer. Jesus made this very clear in the Sermon on the Mount.
Here is what He stated:
. . . Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;” “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (Matt. 5:22-24)
Offering a gift on the altar was an act of worship. Prayer is also an act of worship. To expect God’s blessings, one must remove all bitterness and resentment from the heart and mind. Christians should not express unreasonable leniency with respect to sin, but while hating the sin, they should not hate the sinner. David expressed it in the following manner: “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Ps. 139:21-22). They were David’s enemies because they were the enemies of God. Yet, Jesus said we are to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). Since David was a man after God’s own heart, he too hated what sinners did, but he did not hate the sinners.
If we desire answers to our prayers, it is extremely important to maintain a right spirit and attitude toward others. This especially applies to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Here is how the Apostle Peter expressed it: “. . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:5-6). Yes indeed. God resists the proud. One who maintains a proud and defiant attitude toward God and his fellow man will not receive God’s benefits. And he will certainly not receive answers to his prayers.
Jesus gave the perfect examples of the proper and improper attitude for receiving answers to prayer.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14)
The publican expressed true humility. He felt undeserving of God’s grace and mercy. So humble was he that he would not look up to God in heaven, and when he said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” he expressed deep remorse. The text should read “the sinner,” not “a sinner” as it reads in the Authorized Version. The publican felt he was the sinner-the worst of all sinners. In his own mind there was no one worse. And what was Jesus’ answer? “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” This man’s guilty past was erased. He was forgiven. His prayer had been answered.
Humility requires the need to ask for correction-not only acknowledging our faults before God, but asking for correction that we may be able to change. Daniel was one of the three most righteous men in the Bible (Ezek.14: 14, 20).
Here is why his prayers were answered:
And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. (Dan. 10:11-12)
Daniel chastened himself by asking for correction. He asked God to show him where he was wrong; he was heard because of it. What does God instruct? “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7). Jeremiah manifested this same attitude when he wrote: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). He continued by saying: “O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing” (v. 24).
A right spirit before God means humbling the self, acknowledging one’s sins, and asking God for correction. Yet, many find this difficult to do, if not impossible. The book of Proverbs tells us: “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” (Prov. 3:11). “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die” (Prov. 15:10). “Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour” (Prov. 14:9). In the light of these Scriptures what should one’s choice be?
Effective Prayer Requires Faith in God
What is faith? Paul tells us: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . . . But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). In brief, faith is belief in God’s existence, and that He will perform what He has promised.
Jesus told His disciples: ” . . . Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21:21-22). This, of course, must be according to God’s will. This is why we are told: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). When one’s prayers are simply a case of the “gimmies,” it is unlikely that many of them are according to God’s will. Such prayers will not be answered.
This is why it is important to study the Bible. This helps us to determine God’s will. The Bible is the recorded Word of God that speaks to us. When we pray we speak to God. Unless we study the Bible we cannot understand what God desires of us, or what we can expect from God when we pray. But we must ask in faith. The Apostle James tells us: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (Jas. 1:5-8).
If we go to God in faith, having confidence that He will fulfill His promises, we can expect God to answer our requests in His due time. This is where patience comes in, a very important requirement for living a Christian life.
To Be Effective in Prayer
We Must Pray Without Ceasing
Patience was mentioned above. One who does not receive an immediate answer to prayer must not give up. Our desire for an immediate answer, and God’s will in the matter might be two different things. One can never expect to experience effective prayer if one quits praying about a specific matter until God has revealed an answer. Bible study and wise counsel from those who may be more spiritually mature can help us learn this. Recall what Samuel told the people of Israel when they wanted a king. He was disheartened by their request and knew that it was an act of rebellion against God’s rule. Nevertheless he said: “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Sam. 12:23). Samuel knew the value of prayer without ceasing. All his life he prayed for God’s people and for their best interests. And all his life his prayers were answered, and the people prospered, even though Saul eventually refused to obey God.
New Testament examples include Colossians 1:9, quoted on page one: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” The New Testament servants of God knew that they had to make prayer an unceasing part of their daily routine. Jesus gave a parable to illustrate the importance of this. “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). The Apostle Paul admonished, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). When Jesus gave His instruction on prayer, He did not say if you pray. He said when you pray (Matt. 6:5). Then He gave the sample prayer, generally referred to as the Lord’s Prayer.
How much time should be spent in daily prayer? The Bible does not say, but a good rule of thumb might be at least one half hour of whole-hearted supplication. How much effort we should put into a prayer will be covered shortly, but for now let it suffice to say, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (Jas. 5:16).
Effective Prayer Requires an
Understanding of the Purpose of Prayer
Many people do not have the remotest idea of the purpose of prayer. They assume that public prayers given in church are all that the Bible requires. Prayer for many who profess Christianity is relegated to religious formal occasions. Is this all the Bible teaches about prayer?
To repeat, the Bible is God’s word. This is how He communicates with us. Prayer is how we communicate with God. Unless one maintains contact with God, he has little chance of receiving answers to his prayers. We must abide in Christ-that is, we must be in union with God by means of daily prayer and study. Jesus said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). When Paul wrote the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing,” what did he mean? He meant that private prayer should be done on a daily basis. Daniel the prophet prayed three times a day (Dan. 6:10). Due to job requirements, etc., many are not able to do this. Nevertheless, it is necessary to maintain regular contact with God on a daily basis as an essential for answered prayer.
This is the time of the end. As world events unfold it is a must that we remain close to God and have His protection. This is why Jesus said: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36). Whether or not we are delivered from the coming tribulation will depend on how we maintain contact with God, how we allow ourselves to be corrected for the things we do that are wrong, and how we are willing to grow in grace and in knowledge (2 Pet. 1:4-8). There are many temptations this world has to offer. Jesus told His disciples: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). The flesh can be strengthened by means of the Holy Spirit. We should be praying that we can overcome the world, Satan, and the pulls of the flesh. One of the most important purposes of prayer is to give us the guidance and strength we need to overcome and to stand before Christ at His second coming.
Effective Prayer Requires
Asking God for Help
Effective prayer is not something that comes naturally. It must be cultivated. We require God to help us to pray. This is what the disciples asked Jesus (Luke 11:1). They recognized that of themselves they could not accomplish what was necessary to maintain close contact with God. They said: “. . . Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” The disciples were asking for help to pray properly. They saw the miraculous results of prayer in the life of Christ and knew how much He depended upon prayer to God. They wanted to do the same.
We read in Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” If God has the power to deliver His people from severe trials and tribulations, would He not help us pray? While it is not found in the Bible, the statement “More is accomplished through prayer than this world dreams of” is certainly true. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
Why? The Bible tells us Christ, as our High Priest, is more than willing to help.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:14-16)
What if we become lax and do not spend sufficient time in prayer or spend time in prayer at all? What should we do? We must go to God and ask Him to give us a desire to pray. Prayer does not come naturally. It must be developed, and this can be accomplished only with God’s help. Anytime we pray, it is beneficial to ask God to help us to pray properly so that contact can be made with Him. Many of us have known that at times our prayers have not gone beyond the ceiling, and we should not want this to continue.
Effective Prayer Must Be Intense
The Apostle James tells us: “. . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16). When we pray we must be intense. We must mean business. Consider this. When one asks something of you in an indifferent manner, how likely are you to respond? Not likely. Why should God be any different? On the other hand when one asks something of you in an intense manner, one of earnestness and purpose, how likely are you to respond? Again, why should God be any different? How one asks something makes a huge difference.
Effective prayer should not be routine or apathetic. When one realizes prayer is made to the Creator and Ruler of the universe, one cannot afford to be lackadaisical. Would we address a king in such a manner? Of course not! Why should we think God would answer us if we approach Him in this fashion? Daily earnest prayer is not a ritual; it is an absolute necessity for salvation. There is nothing more important at the time. This is why we need to know how to pray, and to pray effectively. Those who have experienced answers to prayers are sometimes astounded at the results.
Christians are admonished to be: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). Should this be applied to prayer? Notice how Jesus prayed just before His crucifixion.
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:39-44)
Jesus was intense. He knew that He needed help from God to go through this terrible ordeal. Jesus knew the power and capability of God. Many human beings do not. Jesus appreciated the value of prayer. Many human beings do not. God gave Him the strength to undergo the ordeal He faced. So today we have a Savior who was able to pay the price for our sins. As a result of this, we can now be saved. Without God’s help Jesus knew what was likely to happen. We need to develop the same kind of dependency upon God.
An example of intense prayer is seen in the book of Colossians. Paul writes: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis” (Col. 4:12-13). The fact is: Effective prayer requires effort. Paul called it labor. It cannot be effective if done in any other manner.
Effective Prayer Must Be Done
at Times of Physical Peaks
Prayer done when one is tired or exhausted cannot be effective. Just before His crucifixion Jesus saw how His disciples were too tired to pray. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. . . ” (Matt. 26:40-41). This is why it is very important to pray early in the morning, before one is exhausted from the day’s activity. A prayer made when one is tired will be largely a waste of time. Notice the example Jesus set. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).
The key to successful prayer in the morning is getting a sufficient amount of sleep. This requires going to bed at a decent time. One cannot stay up half the night, miss out on needed sleep, and then expect to pray effectively. Effective prayer requires organization and discipline-characteristics that are sadly lacking in many today. Such people can never expect to make the kind of contact with God required to overcome and qualify for the Kingdom of God. Praying at times of peak energy makes one’s prayer effective and meaningful.
If applied, the suggestions given in this article can bring a whole new meaning and dedication to one’s life. We should not relegate prayer to some insignificant aspect of our Christian profession. Effective prayer is the key to contact with God, and contact with God is the key to salvation.