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pray faithfully
(© Istockphoto; Kryczka)

Biblical guidelines for effectively engaging heaven

Many people look for a rulebook for prayer. They want step one, two, three and so on so that they don't have to think or really pour that much of themselves into their prayers. They want to just check off the steps and feel that they've done their duty. But prayer doesn't work like that. Spiritual warfare doesn't work like that.

What follows isn't a list of rules for prayer but of different prayer strategies that can act as guidelines to your prayers. Consider it like having a loaded prayer arsenal of different tactics alongside you as you go into prayer, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in how to pray effectively for whatever supplication or intercession you are bringing to God.

1) Pray faithfully.

When you pray, ensure that you don't waver in your faith. Hold fast to your relationship with Christ. God can resurrect a dead life, a dead dream—anything that is dead—if you have faith: "God ... gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did" (Rom. 4:17). He can bring your marriage, business or faith back into alignment with His promises. But this takes more than a quick "Help me, God!" It takes dedicated, faithful, faith-filled prayer in which you fully present yourself to God.

f-Trimm-PrayDecisively Istockphoto-Joste dj2) Pray decisively.

You can't be wishy-washy when you pray—one day you trust God, the next day you don't. One day you pray this, the next day you want the opposite. You say one thing to God in faith, and then you go have coffee with your friends and talk about how it can never happen. As the Bible says: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Heb. 10:23). Make a deliberate and conscious decision to agree with the Word of God, and then set your heart to believe it and your mouth to speak it no matter what.

f-Trimm-PrayForcefully Istockphoto-Juanmonino3) Pray forcefully.

Don't be a wimp! Matthew 11:12 tells us that, "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." You aren't begging, you aren't crying and you aren't persuading; you are coming to take what is legally yours according to the Word of God. You must come boldly as a child would to a father, as a prince or princess would to a king, as a wronged plaintiff would to a court of law. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

f-Trimm-PrayLovingly-Istockphoto-IBushuev4) Pray lovingly.

We aren't called to take vengeance on anyone. If vengeance is to be taken, it will be God taking it, not us. We are not called to be judges over the perpetrators of any crimes, disasters or diseases. We are called to be deliverers, rescuers and healers. We're called to put ourselves between the people and the harm, lifting up Jesus so that those who will look up from this world to Him might also be saved (see John 3:14-15). We must pray to see the people we are praying for or those who hurt us through the eyes of God. We must pray that God stops them in their tracks as He did Paul and turns them around. We can't have faith if we aren't walking in love, for the only thing that avails is "faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6).

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