To be an effective person of prayer, you must have relationship with the One to whom you pray.
Above all else, prayer is an opportunity to enjoy intimacy with God. Prayer is all about relationship with Father God. God longs to have relationship with you.
To know God is to realize that we are in relationship, covenant relationship with Him. You are His child. He is your Father. You are His bride. He is your Groom.
Jesus warns us that we can do His works and not be known of God.
Matt 7:21-23 (NIV) "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
How Can I Develop an Intimate Relationship with God?
* A. Spend Time with the Lord, daily.
* B. Study the Word of God
* C. Worship
* D. Repentance
* E. Practice the Presence of the Lord
A. Spend Time with the Lord, daily.
In any earthly relationship, the way to develop relationship with someone is to spend time with them. Intimate relationships are born by learning to trust. Being open and vulnerable and being willing to show all of your heart invites intimacy. To be intimate is to be willing to show all that is in your heart to the person. To be an intimate friend of God, you need to be able to pour out your heart to Him, sharing the most intimate details of your life, your hopes, your dreams and your very heart with Him.
Prov. 17:17 (NIV)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
This scripture not only applies to God's heart toward us, but it should be our stance toward the Lord. Our hearts should long to be with Him no matter what the circumstance. As His people, We are to love Him and be His friend first. From that base of intimacy, we can pray effectively.
If our prayer life consists only of petition and intercession, it can lead to anger and frustration. If prayer is not answered in the speed that we wish it to be answered, we can become bitter and resentful toward God. However, If we grow to know God, a delayed prayer will only be an opportunity to pray again. Spending much time with the Lord is one of the only methods to truly know His ways, and not just His acts. Knowing God leads to resting in the assurance of His ultimate goodness, despite the circumstances we see around us.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
To be in intimate relationship with God is to make Him number one in our lives, above all others, and above all else.
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
Ask the Lord to show you any idols in your lives that would be number one instead of Him. These idols can take the form of family, friends, ministry, work or even personal dreams .
B. We get to know Him through the study of the word of God, in prayer.
As you daily study His word, you will soon get to know His will, His ways and His heart, which will give you keys to know how to pray. When you understand the way He moves in the lives of people, you can pray prayers that line up to His will. Psalm 119 is a wonderful passage to meditate upon, as it tells us the rewards of studying His word.
C. As we worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He births intimacy in our hearts.
In worship, we are lavishing all our attention and affections toward Him.
Worship cleanses you from the "dirt" you pick up as you walk your everyday life by just living in an unsaved world.
A good anointed worship time refreshes and revives you. It speaks to your spirit the truth about God and His power. To be an effective intercessor, you must be awake in your spirit. Worship will awaken and sharpen your spirit to be in tune with the will of the Lord.
Ask the Lord to search your heart, and to show you if there be any wicked way in it. The Lord is faithful to show us our motivations and secret desires. Keep a short account with the Lord.
1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
If you know there are wounds from hurts you have received, allow the Lord to heal those areas as you forgive and receive forgiveness and healing. If you find it hard to hear from God, ask Him to show blockages or walls in your own life that are hindering you from receiving and giving to the Lord. Some blockages are unforgiveness, unconfessed sin, disobedience, wounds and hurts.
To pray effectively, pray out of a pure heart, so you don't pray in bitterness, anger and judgment.
Prayers prayed out of impure motives are sometimes known as soulful prayers. They are usually not very effective. When the Lord begins to show us things to pray for and our hearts are free from unconfessed sin and judgments toward others, we can pray without prejudice.
Praying For Others is front line spiritual warfare. It is essential that you pray for protection for yourself and your family as you enter into intercession. Sin can provide an open door for the enemy to attack us. If, when you pray for others, you find things falling apart in your own life, ask the Lord to search your heart and show you any doors left open because of your own sin, or sin against you.
E. Practice the Presence of God.
Practice just "being with God." Just enjoy each others company. Sometimes, just sitting with the Lord in silence can bring deep communion and refreshment to your spirit, soul and body. An earthly example of this sort of "being", would be a loving couple who have been married for years. They do not have to say a word to each other yet a glance or a smile can pass on deep intimacy and "knowing."
You don't always have to be talking to Him. You don't always have to be expecting heavy revelation from heaven, in prayer, you can just enjoy being with Him.
Part of practicing the presence of God is to understand he is with you always. It is a biblical fact and is not based on your emotions.
Deut 31:6 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
The presence of God is there all the time. Learning to know He is there, however, will take time and patience. Just drink in His love for in the presence of God, fear cannot reside, anxiety cannot reside, heaviness cannot abide. You need to learn to tune into His presence, it is always there, but we need to practice becoming aware of it.
General Helps in Prayer
Have on hand your bible, a pen and a notebook
Find a quiet place to pray if possible. This is not always possible, however, and God still blesses your prayer time in the midst of distractions.
Be accustomed to periods of silence and don't be afraid of pauses.
If you find your mind wandering in prayer:
Pray out loud.
Read scriptures out loud. If you don't know what to pray, then pray the prayers of the bible, there are dozens of prayers that you can take as your own. Pray the Psalms for example. They are songs, after all, perhaps they are better to be heard by the ear to reach the heart, like all songs.
Paul prayed as an apostle over his charges all through his letters so grab a pen and paper and make note of where these prayers are and pray these in faith for yourself and for those you have made prayer priorities. There are many prayers in the Old Testament as well that you can make your heart's prayer. As you read the Word out loud, you will find certain passages leap out at you that you never noticed before, as it takes longer to read out loud than to scan the page silently. Your heart and mind will have a longer opportunity to "chew" on the Word.
Walk or pace as you read the Word out loud, you'll be amazed how it will inspire you and keep your mind from wandering. The combination of reading out loud and walking trains your brain to concentrate on the task at hand. If you can't walk, then be creative in finding another way to keep your body a part of your prayer experience.
Put on a worship tape.
Ask the Lord to protect you as you pray.
Declare you are determined to pray.
If there is a pressing need of your own on your mind, submit it to the Lord in prayer. Write down those things that are causing your mind to wander and submit them to the Lord.
Walk! Stand, change your posture. If you find you are dozing off regularly in your devotions and prayer times, then stand and walk around the room you are in.
Ask the Lord if this is the best time for you to be praying. Some people are morning people, others can press in to the Lord in the wee small hours of the night. Find out what works best for you.