Marks of an Effective Prayer Life – Part-I

1. Prayer and the Secret Place
The practice of personal, at-home, daily prayer has reached an abysmal low. Prayer at church can’t replace prayer at home. When Christians do pray during the week, they pray on the run. No quality relationship can be sustained with such a low investment of time and priority.

2. Prayer – The Secret to Spiritual Power
Jesus assumed we would have a secret “place of prayer!” It may be a closet or a corner, a room or a rocking chair. It may be a garden or a vista point. Such a place is sacred. Being in the place is a signal to God of our seeking, searching heart. God shows up in public with those who meet him privately. Pastor C. J. (Pop) Abbott had a well-known habit of daily secret prayer by his bedside. Frequently and fervently he prayed there. Great prayer warriors have often knelt at their bedside so regularly, lingering there, that their knees wore grooves into wooden floors. Many developed prayer callouses on their knees.
3. Prayer – Moving from Duty to Delight
Most of us think of prayer as work! Prayer is seen as a duty, not as a glorious privilege. Some Christians approach prayer as something necessary but undesirable. “I know that I should pray. That to grow in Christ I have to pray!” We lament, “If we are going to see revival, we must pray!” It is as if prayer is a kind of spiritual castor oil – not pleasant, but essential.
It is true, we should pray. We must pray. But healthy prayer moves beyond duty to delight. Drawn to God by love, not always driven by necessity, we long for His presence. Imagine someone saying to God, “In order to get this noble outcome, how much time do I have to spend with you? An hour? What would 15 minutes get? I want this blessing, this revival, but I want it with as little time spent alone with You as possible!”
4. Prayer – Worshipful Love
We see prayer as one component in worship. It is one of many things in a worship service. At its heart and in its purest form, prayer itself is worship. And the heart of worship is our love of God. Such love demands passion. Passion is essential in our relationship with God.
5. Prayer – The Empowerment to Action
The Bible is a record of prayer – of praying men and women and what they accomplished. Praying believers have been change-agents whose mark on history seems timeless. Moved to act in faith, they accomplished things far beyond their own limited capabilities. The Scripture is a record of culture shifts affected by the energy from another world. Prayer moves us to action, and what is more important, it ties that personal action to the intervening action of God.

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[1] For an extensive listing, see Lockyer, All the Prayers of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1959).
[2] See The Praying Church Resource Guide, Section 3 for definitions of each of these prayer functions. P. Douglas Small, The Praying Church Resource Guide (Kannapolis, NC: Alive Publications, 2013).

P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.

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