Steps to Effective Prayer
Matthew 6:5-Matthew 6:5-15
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.6 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.7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
NOTE: Jesus did not say “If you pray”. He said ‘When you pray”
• Prayer should not be an occasional practice, it has to be a daily lifestyle.
• Prayer should not only be undertaken when trouble comes knocking; it has to be a habit that goes beyond a season of chaos and trouble.
Note: Jesus urged his followers not to be like “Hypocrites”
In other words. He was saying:
• Do not claim to have moral standards or beliefs to which your behavior does not conform.
• Do not pretend that your focus is on God as you pray, when your motives are to be seen by man.
Verse 6: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy”closet”
The Greek word for “closet” is ‘tameio’ which means:
• A secret place, a treasure room. A secluded, private, concealed, hidden, unfrequented, out of the way, tucked away place.
• Granary, or storehouse for threshed grain.
• A place that is well guarded.
Since Jesus spoke Aramaic, the word which he would have used would have been the word: ‘Tawanaah’ which is explained as:
• a room without windows,
• A room where valuables and supplies are restored.
Note: The Aramaic also uses Tawanaah as a metaphor meaning; one’s heart.
Note: The best way a person can really know and understand another person’s heart is by having quality time with them.
• The only place we can pour out our hearts fully to God, is in places of seclusion….alone time with him through prayer and meditation upon in his word.
Note: The word “closet” also stood for “a defense” or a private place of escape.
It would be a place where you could find refuge from the threat of intruders or enemies; people wanting to cause you harm, or a place where you would be protected from terrible storms or other disasters
“Oh, how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear You, Which you have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of your presence from the plots of man;
you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”
Steps to effective prayer:
1) You must be born again if you want pray effectively.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.”
Note: John 1:10-13
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
• The only way to have access to God the Father as His child, is by accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. When you do so, you have the right to pray in His Name!
2) Maintain a sober mind
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
Note: A sober mind is a mind that has not been affected by any intoxicants (e.g. worry, fear, anxiety, depression). The pursuit of worldly pleasures, etc., can affect a person’s mind such that they become paralyzed to the point where they cannot pray anymore.
3) Maintain a clear conscience before God and man
“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, [a] both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”
Note: A conscience that has offence toward God and man buried within its inner core will block any person from having an effective prayer life, and also it will hinder God’s compassion from flowing (ex. Jonah).
“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Lord”
• Jonah had received the word of the Lord which was intended to bring repentance upon its recipients.
• The problem was that he did not see them as worthy of God’s forgiveness because of how he perceived them, since they were Israel’s enemies.
• How he perceived the people of Nineveh affected how he responded to that which the Lord had asked him to do, even though he knew he had to do it.
4) Have confidence in God’s ability to hear and answer your prayer
1 John 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hearth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
How can we pray according to his will?
• By praying according to what the scripture says.
How can we pray according to what scriptures says?
• By having the Word dwell RICHLY in us.
Note: Hebrews 4:16
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
• One aspect that will also help in prayer is…boldness to come before Him.
5) Identify, and then speak to your mountain
Mark 11: 20-23
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away.”2 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Note: Jesus did not say: …whoever says to a mountain…; he said: “…whoever says to this mountain…”
• In order for people to speak to any mountains that would be affecting their lives, they first need to identify what that mountain is, then speak to that mountain, without having any doubt in their hearts.
6) Pray constantly and expect God to move suddenly, regardless of how you feel
5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant[a] prayer was offered to God for him by the church
1 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”2 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”
Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.
• Even though the church was praying for Peter, they still seemed perplexed when Rhoda told them he was standing at the door …already.
Why where they so perplexed?
• Because they had not expected God to respond that quickly.
Note: God will move in His own time, our part is to always be expectant. At all times.
7) Make fasting a never-ending part of your lifestyle
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
Note: Jesus did not say; “…if you fast…”. He said; ‘…when you fast…”
• From that statement we can conclude that Jesus was saying that fasting should be something which we undertake at all times, and not just sometimes.
Because fasting helps in becoming sensitive to His voice at all times. And when we make fasting our lifestyle, prayer does not seem like a tall order anymore.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him. For him that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
• Faith in God has to be the platform that we ride upon as we come before Him in prayer, at the same time believing that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him … DILIGENTLY.