Six Criteria Necessary For An Effective Prayer
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16B)
What is praying?
Prayers are often done in every religion amd so it has different meaning to each religious group.
Consequently, if you are a new born Christian you may not know how to pray.
You may even wonder if there is a right or wrong way to pray? Or how often do you need to pray?
By the end of this post you will know the answers to those questions.
First, let us look at how the world define prayer.
Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through delibereate communication” (Wikipedia.org)
This definition incorporates all religion and is not specific to Christianity.
As a matter of fact, the word invocation is from the Latin verb, invocare, meaning to call on, to invoke or to give.
Invocation may take the form of supplication prayer or spell; a form of possession; a command or conjuration; self- identification with certain spirits. (Wikipedia.org).
The website further states that prayer can be in the form of thanksgiving, praise, meditation, charms or spells.
Some religion prays in a ritual pattern with set incantations and repetitive words or the prayer can be spontaneous utterance.
Most religion have strict rules regarding praying.
For example, the Muslims perform Salat an obligatory prayer that is done five times every day.
They prayed at dawn, midday, the late part of the afternoon – just after sunset, between sunset and midnight.
Millions of Muslims repeated these set prayers every day at the same time.
By doing this, they believe it will make them highly spiritual and connect them to each other.
There is no set pattern in the way that Christians pray or the amount of time that they pray.
Christians believe that praying is simply talking to God.
How you pray and the amount of time that you pray will depend on the individual or the denomination that they belong to.
Because the doctrines of men involve so much variations it can appear confusing to the unsave or the babe in Christ.
God is not the author of confusion and so it is best to check the Bible to get an understanding of the how and why of praying.
The best example to use is from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus gave some indepth information about how to pray in Matthew 6.
Jesus’ critera for praying.
1. Humility and submission
A humble and contrite spirit before God will attract His attention
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalms 51:17)
It is quite unnecessary to list your buisness publicly to God while praying.
Jesus said that you should cast your burden upon Him because He cares.
However, it is best to do this in private to avoid your buisness reaching the street.
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. (Matthew 6:6)
Pray according to the will of the Father and in total submission.
If you are not sure what is the will of the Father you can check out this post: The Will of God
Suppose you did not finish high school or maybe your education did not reach college level, hence you do not know the latest big words to use in your prayers to impress God.
No sweat! God is not impress with big words or eloquence.
The Lord already knows your needs so He just look at your heart to see if you are sincere and then grants your petition.
There is no need for you to chant or use vain repititions when praying.
Strong Concordance states that the Greek word for vain repititions is battalogeo which means to stammer or to repeat the same things over and over again; to use many idle words; to babble.
In other words, simply state your request to God and then finish your prayer.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is believing in something that you cannot see with your natural eyes.
You cannot see God because He is a Spirit.
Therefore, without faith it is impossible to please God because when you come before God you must first believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that dilligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
If you do not hallow or honor as holy the name of the Lord, then your prayer is in vain.
Praying is entering the presence of God.
In the Old Testament days, before the priest could enter the holy place where God dwells, they have to be thoroughly washed and sanctified.
Otherwise, they would die.
In our dispensation, you can come as you are before God through Jesus Christ because His blood cleansed you from all unrighteousness.
However, this does not mean that you can enter the presence of God in a disrespectful manner.
You have to revere the Lord.
5. Forgiving spirit
If you cannot find it in your heart to forgive your fellow brethren who have done you wrong then God cannot forgive you.
It simply means that you are not sincere in your prayers and so the Lord will not hear you.
6. Thanksgiving and praise.
Enter the presence of God with thanksgiving and praise.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations. (Psalms 100:4-6)
The Lord’s model prayer
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. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)