Updated: Mar 17, 2022
I've been receiving a number of questions pertaining to prayer, things like do I need to pray over an hour? should I pray loudly all the time? do I have to cast out demons everyday in prayer? The list is endless and I thought compiling something with a few tips will be pretty helpful to all of us in understanding how we can best approach prayer.
Not only does prayer afford us a seat where the affairs of our lives are tabled but it also a sure tool that will catapult you into intimacy with God and we need to maximize this tool as much as we can, it is in this that Jesus said Man ought always to pray and not faint.
Tip 1 - Understand that you are designed for intimacy and fellowship with God
You need to understand that you are designed for intimacy and fellowship with God: all the gaping holes in our lives like depression, confusion and anxiety that we fill with things like drugs alcohol and overly fetish desires are an indication to the deep yearning of man for fellowship with his creator. Only God can fill those crevices in our hearts. And your first step to remedy this is through prayer.
Tip 2 - Fix your mindset about prayer
Now that we've established that you are created for fellowship with God we need to fix the mindset that prayer is a chore. Prayer should not be seen as a laborious activity but it should be approached with much anticipation and excitement. Think about it this way Imagine your bestie - there are times in the day where you cant wait to talk to this person to tell them of the latest things you got up to or asking them to help you choose an outfit for a certain outing or to bounce off ideas with them - that s how we should approach, prayer with much anticipation to speak to God. Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would make his servants joyful in prayer in Isaiah 56:7 "Even them I will bring to my Holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer” He referred to a new paradigm for prayer – Joyful prayer. This is prayer that refreshes our heart!! If your prayer life is not enjoyable child of God, then it will not be sustainable.
Tip 3 - Knowing who you are praying to
Sometimes people get confused at the triune nature of God in prayer - who to address during prayer is a question mark to them, like Do I pray to Jesus then God then the Holy spirit? If this is you who just gets boggled up by this, Jesus teaches us to Pray to God we see this template when he teaches the disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 and we see him further teach us to pray to the father in His name and this is in John 14:13 . You may then ask what about the Holy Spirit? He is our help and he is our help even in prayer, he helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Tip 4 - Believing and trusting who you are praying to
We fail before we get into prayer by these 3 things - our lack of conviction on the reality of God and our lack of conviction on the integrity of his character and plain disbelief in the word. Some people would say every time they pray things get worse and from that they’ve decided to stop praying: that is an indication of lack of conviction in who God is. We pray because of who we know God to be, believing what He said He will bring to pass no matter the circumstances that surround us. We stand unmovable in the valley and on the mountain top and take everything to him in prayer despite what we see and the only way to get to that place of conviction is knowing God for yourself, scripture says my people perish for lack of knowledge and in this you will be doing yourself a great injustice by not pursuing to seek the Lord.
Lack of conviction about God will cause you to approach prayer uncertain and already defeated, scripture says come boldly you cant come boldly when you are not confident of who you are going to speak to and when you are not confident whether the person has the capabilities of fulfilling your requests so this is a very important one. Work on your convictions about God.
Tip 5 - The importance of the word of God
The word of God and prayer go together - The word of God is the foundation you stand on in prayer, the promises of God are what gives you wings to soar in prayer. Know the word, know what God says about you. You wont know this if you do not read the bible. For our victory in this area I believe we need to move away from this culture of not reading the bible, frankly we need to move away from the culture of being lazy to read in general.
Tip 6 - Growing in prayer
Should you pray long hours is a 2 min prayer sufficient? A lot of people ask this question a lot. What I've learnt that is not taught to us, is that we all grow in prayer and what I mean in this is that just like any other relationship - intimacy develops over time the more you teach yourself to come to God in conversation with him and you start to understand him and hear him the more you will spend time with him, so do not beat yourself up when you can only master a 15 min prayer versus a 2 hour prayer at this stage, this is a muscle that you need to exercise. You must get yourself before God as much as you can to grow in this area and your spiritual senses will then develop, you will start to hearing him more because prayer is not a monologue but it is a dialogue. There are instances where all you can mutter in prayer is to say "Lord help" and tears will stream down your face, that does not mean God will not hear you or reject your prayer, scripture says he gather our tears in a bottle. We serve a God who understands the language of tears, a God who knows the weaknesses of our frame.
If you want to stretch yourself and go for an hour and are wondering what am I going to say for so long, we used to teach some of the youths on our mentoring platform that you can segment your hour into different categories - for example start with praise and worship for 15 min then get into thanksgiving for another, then then maybe pray for your family friends etc afterwards maybe pray for a social-justice issue that has touched your heart like children trafficking and kidnappings, pray specifically for those families and people affected by that then pray for yourself, this will then fill your hour or more.
The more you do this you will eventually start seeing that you will move out of a pattern and be led by the Spirit on what to pray for, that’s the sweet spot of prayer because you will riding on the wings of the Holy Spirit at that moment, before you know it you would've spent more than 30 min just in worship and praise loving on Jesus. As you focus on Him in love, He envelops you with His love in return and you get lost in that space of intimacy, there is so much peace and joy in that space I doubt you would want to leave quickly.
Tip 7 - Be genuine in Prayer
Be open in your place of prayer, I was telling a friend of mine recently that a place of intimacy is not a place for actors, be vulnerable, be real, sometimes we borrow what we've heard other people say and that is not necessary there is no need to use big words or King James English. God understands and hears you more than what you articulate with your mouth, He even understands those unspoken words that you can't even express. He can read your mind, he hears your hearts whispers, He sees your actions so there is literally nothing you can hide when you get into prayer.
There is so much more I want to share that will help us, but lets work on the above tips for now. I believe it will yield us tremendous results.