How to Pray Sincerely and Effectively

Do you pray? For most Christians, that sounds like a strange question because the obvious answer is yes. 

Regardless of your level of spiritual maturity or relationship with God, prayer is one of the tenants of our faith, and most people, including non-believers, do it at least once or twice. But I submit to you that most of us, including me, are doing it wrong. 

You see, prayer seems so simple that we take it for granted. We do not acknowledge prayer for what it is and instead treat it as one of our many traditions. 
Young African American Boy Praying
We pray before bed, pray over our meals, and pray at church, but that is not R.E.A.L. prayer. So, I guess the question is, what is R.E.A.L. prayer?

In this post, we will discuss how to pray sincerely and effectively.

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What is prayer?

Conversing, communicating with God in the most general sense (Jeremiah 29:12).

Communication includes speaking out loud, talking to God, silent prayer, journaling, songwriting, poetry.

It also includes hearing from God, and through this conversation, we build our relationship with God. 

Who does a Christian Pray to? God or Jesus?

Prayer, for a Christian, begins with God, and through His son, Jesus.

We pray to God as the father (Romans 8:15). What this means is we must learn to pray respectfully but not formally. 

Tradition has created an image of prayer that is not biblically accurate. If you asked most believers how to pray, you are most likely going to get a very formal description (bow your heads, get on your knees), very memorized (we all have phrases that we learn to repeat over time), and very serious. 

God does not call us to be formal or lay prostrate on the ground or take 30 minutes. Just respect him as your father and talk to him. 

Why do Christians pray through Jesus?

Sin separated us from God. Jesus Christ came down to live the life we could not live—a life without sin—to die a death we should have for our sins—and, as a result, gave us the gift we could not otherwise obtain—salvation and reconciliation with God (1 Timothy 2:5).

As He ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and guide us, and the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us to pray (Luke 11:13).

What prayer is not?

Prayer is not waiting to tell God something you think he does not know because God knows everything (Jeremiah 33:3).

People often make excuses when they pray not to confess to God because he already knows everything. God knows, but he still wants you to talk to him because it is about the relationship.

It is about us involving God in every facet of our lives.

What is the benefit of prayer?

Sometimes prayer moves the hand of God. You pray, and God answers said prayer. It is important to note that God always answers prayers:
(1) Yes
(2) No or
(3) Later.

Some of you are waiting on God to give you something where he has already answered your prayer by telling you No.

Most of the time, however, prayer is not to move the hand of God but to change our hearts and deepen our relationship with Him.

In other words, it is a time for us to go to God and talk it through so that we find a solution based on His will, learn from him, trust him, obey him, and continue to build a relationship with him.

What is the most effective prayer to God?

Honest prayer from the heart. When people think of prayer, they think of a pious, religious people who speak a hyper-spiritual language with Bible verses and phrases that are pleasing to the ear. 

How should we pray?

The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray (Galatians 4:6).
"And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.'" Galatians 4:6 NLT

This verse highlights how each member of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is involved in our journey. God the Father sent the Son to save us, then sent the Spirit to live in our hearts.

Pray with Faith (Matthew 21:22)

Before we pray, we need to have faith that:
  • God exists, that He is kind and loves us, and is our father.
  • Jesus has taken away our sins, and through his sacrifice, God will hear and answer our prayers (John 3:16). The Holy Spirit is teaching you to pray.
When disagreements occur in our lives over and over, we can do a significant amount of damage to people (including ourselves) to relationships and the effectiveness of our ministries when we are quick to argue our positions, defend our views and push our opinions on others.

We gain more when we pause from defending our beliefs and judging others’ opinions while we concentrate on listening and attempt to understand the other side of the conflict. 

Pray Succinctly and Intelligibly (Matthew 6:7)

Pray in God’s Will (John 16:23-24)

How do we know what is in God’s will?

Read the Bible. God provides his plan for us in His Word. 
Many of us pray against God’s will if we are praying for God to overlook our sin or remove the consequences of our sin, then we are not in God’s will.

Some of us want God to bless a relationship that is unevenly yoked, a business venture that is crooked and corrupt, or a decision that we know is outside his will.

We must pray in God’s will not for what we want but what God’s will. 

Pray Humbly (Luke 18:9-14)

We should approach God with a humble and repentant attitude.

While we should undoubtedly intercede for others, we must spend time reflecting on our flaws and placing those flaws on the altar.

Pray Continually (Luke 18:1-8)

We must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) 

What does it mean to pray without ceasing?

Following Jesus’ example, we must incorporate prayer into every facet of our lives.

In other words, we must learn to talk to God in every situation: We get up and talk to God; we go to work/school we talk to God; we deal with family, friends, etc., we talk with God.

There are no designated times or places for prayer. Prayer is any and every time.

Keep praying because to stop praying is to lose hope and guard your heart against temptation (Matthew 26:41). 

Most people fall into temptation when they stop praying and start trying to do it on their own. 

Who/what should we pray for?

We should pray for those who sin against us and pray to forgive them (Mark 11:25)

Forgiveness is not forgetting or reconciling; it is the act of saying that you will no longer let their action or perceived action interfere with your relationship with God and what He desires for your life.

Acknowledging that you have sinned against God and has forgiven you, you must also forgive those who have sinned against you (doing the work of the Gospel for others). 

We should pray for our needs (Matthew 7:7-8).

God wants you to bring everything to him and seek his help. It does not matter how big or small the issue God wants you to bring it to Him (Remember God can say NO). 

We should pray against temptation (Matthew 26:42).

Too often, we sin and seek forgiveness as opposed to praying preemptively to guide you as you face temptations.

Each of us has stumbling blocks we must overcome, and it is those people, places, or things that we must guard against.

We should pray for church and ministry (Thessalonians 3:12-4:12)

We should pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44)

We should pray for our friends (Luke 22:31-31)

We should pray for strangers (1 Timothy 2:1)

When should we pray?

Pray when you can be alone with God (Mark 1:35).

Sometimes we need to get up early to pray; sometimes, we need to turn off our phones and electronics to spend some quality time with God.

Pray daily (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Jesus prayed daily and prayer over his meals.

Pray in good times and in bad (John 12:27-28)

Where should we pray?


We can pray publicly in front of crowds (John 11:41-42)

We can pray as part of a large crowd (Mark 8:6-7)

We can pray in small groups (Luke 9:28)

We can pray alone (Luke 5:15-16)

It is my sincere hope that this post answers the question on How to Pray Sincerely and Effectively. 
Be Blessed, 

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