When you pray, do you have a vague feeling that something is lacking ... that there isn't any power in your prayers? Do you struggle with doubt or fear, or simply lack confidence that God even hears you at all?
I used to have feelings like this and would think, "Maybe I didn't say the right thing, or pray long enough, or my words weren't eloquent enough." It was so frustrating because I didn't want to waste time, wondering if it was doing any good. After I pray, I want to know that God is working and my prayers make a difference.
It's easy to complicate our relationship with God and think we have to do certain things a certain way for them to be effective. But I've discovered that powerful, life-changing, dynamic prayer is amazingly simple!
Two Things We Must Do
It's vitally important for us to have faith in God when we pray. Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Ask yourself, "Do I believe God hears me, that He cares about me and wants to be involved in every area of my life?" If we don't really believe God loves us and wants to help us, we will struggle to have faith in Him. That's why knowing and experiencing the love of God is critical to developing a powerful prayer life.
It's also important that we approach God with sincere hearts. James 5:16 says, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much." A sincere heart is focused on God, trusting that He hears you and will answer. It doesn't mean you have to cry or yell to pray with sincerity; it's all about the attitude of your heart toward God.
You Have to Ask
It's exciting to get the revelation that God loves us, cares for us and wants to help us. But we have a part to do in getting the things God has for us—we have to ask. James 4:2 says, "Yet you do not have, because you do not ask."
Now, it's important to understand that we have to ask for God's will to be done, not just for the things we think we want or should have apart from Him. James 4:1 tells us that striving to get what we want based on our carnal or fleshly desires leads to strife (discord and feuds) and conflicts (quarrels and fightings)." This causes us to be jealous, covet what others have and become angry when we can't "obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness]" we are seeking (James 4:2, AMP).
These verses show us what causes problems in people's lives. We think we're unhappy because we don't have all the stuff that we want. But the reality is only God can give us what we're longing for in our hearts. He alone is the source of righteousness, peace and joy (Rom. 14:17). And we will never enjoy life until we learn to abide in Him and trust Him to do what's best for us.
The Key to Praying for God's Will
If you're not sure whether you're asking for God's will in your life (and we all go through times like this), then you need to take time to just abide in Christ. In John 15:7, Jesus says, "If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it shall be done for you" (MEV).
To abide means to live, dwell and remain. It's not just spending time with God on Sunday morning and then going through your week doing what you want apart from Him. God wants to do life with us Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday too! As we spend time studying His Word, meditating on the Word, communicating with Him through prayer and asking Him to fulfill His plans for us, we will know His will in our hearts.
It's an amazing privilege to be able to talk to God! I want to encourage you to come to Him with humility and ask Him for the desires that are in your heart. Tell Him, "Lord, I don't want anything You don't want me to have. So if this is not Your will, don't give it to Me. I'm trusting You and want You to be in control of my life." Pray about everything that's on your heart and keep it simple. Remember, prayer is simply talking to God, and you can pray anytime, anywhere, all day long ... and He will answer.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and The Mind Connection (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.