But how often do our prayers reflect the reality that God may respond to them in powerful ways?
Sometimes we pray as if we don’t really believe that God will answer us. But major religious texts all declare that God often responds powerfully to a prayer that a faithful person prays.
No matter how hopeless a situation seems -- from a stale marriage to a prolonged period of unemployment -- God has the power to change it when you pray boldly and expect him to respond. In fact, religious texts say that God’s power is so big that he can do anything. Yet sometimes our prayers are too small for such a big God.
God accepts any prayer since he’s always willing to meet us where we are. But if we pray without expecting God to respond, we’re limiting what we’re inviting him to do in our lives. If, on the other hand, we approach God with faith-filled prayers, we may see something wonderful and miraculous happen in our lives.
Here’s how you pray more powerfully to invite God to work miracles in your life:
- Build your faith. Ask God to give you the faith you need to confidently trust that he will keep his promises, no matter what circumstances you face. Choose to believe that God will reward you for diligently seeking him, as religious texts promise. Pray with a sense of eager anticipation, expecting that God will always act to do what’s best when you pray. Expect God to do much more than you could do on your own. Surround yourself with people who have strong faith -- people who believe that God is as big as he says he is, and who have personally experienced his mighty power and faithfulness in their own lives. Keep a prayer journal in which you record specific prayers that you pray for daily until breakthroughs come. Write down the answers to your prayers when they come. Later, read your past journal entries to remind yourself of how God has been faithful to you.
- Ask for what God wants for you. When asking God for something in prayer, ask with pure motives. Seek answers that reflect God’s will rather than trying to convince him to follow your own plans. To identify any faulty patterns in your prayer life, ask yourself: "Am I praying merely for my own comforts and desires?", "Do I ever pray when things are going well, or only when I'm in dire need?", "Is my motive in prayer my own happiness, or God’s glory?", and "Do I pray with an attitude of doubt, just going through the motions of prayer because it seems like the spiritual thing to do?" Repent of any wrong attitudes and ask God to help you approach prayer differently. Aim to pray in alignment with God’s will and remember that he wants the best for you.
- Rely on God’s strength to fight spiritual battles. Be aware that discouragement or despair you feel may be caused by evil that is opposing your efforts to grow closer to God. Get rid of sinful habits that may be opening doors in your life for evil to come through. Confess and repent of the sin that God brings to your attention, and ask him to cleanse you from it. You’ll never lose a battle when you fight with God’s strength flowing through you. So don’t rely just on your own limited strength; pray for God to empower you to do battle in every situation.
- Wrestle in prayer. When something bad happens, don’t just throw out a few brief prayers for God’s help, and then move on in discouragement if the situation doesn’t change for the better soon. Instead, grab hold of God’s promises and fight to see them unfurled in this fallen world. Be persistent, praying until God gives you answers. Don’t give up praying about a situation until God’s power comes into it.
- Pray for what only God can do. Don’t limit your prayers only to simple situations that don’t require much divine intervention to change. Instead, make a habit of praying for big things that only God can do. For example, instead of simply praying to get through each workday well, pray for a bigger vision of your vocation and the courage you need to fulfill it -- even if that means finding an entirely new job. Invite God to do something incredibly powerful in each situation that you bring before him.
God will respond to any prayer, no matter how small. Since you can approach God with confidence, why not pray the biggest, most powerful prayers that you can?