What does it mean to pray effectively? For some people, this means keeping God on a short leash to go and come at their bidding. Similarly, for others it means that God does and gives them everything for which they ask. If this does not happen, they feel that either they or God has failed. Some people pray expecting nothing. How to pray effectively for them is as simple as saying a prayer, if they give it any thought at all. Then, there are those for whom how to pray effectively is wrapped up in how they feel. If they sense God’s presence, they have prayed effectively. If they don’t . . .
What does it mean for you. If someone were to ask you how to pray effectively what would you say?
How to Pray Effectively—Does Jesus Matter?
Tell me, now, when it comes to praying effectively, how much does Jesus matter? Is Jesus your reference point or example? Does Jesus matter? Sure you pray in Jesus’ name, but what else? Hopefully, Jesus was more than simply the “leash” you were pulling on to get God to do your bidding.
When it comes the issue of how to pray effectively, we must consider Jesus, our “pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” to whom we look (Hebrews 12:2–3). What do we see when we look to Jesus? What did the disciples see? As I wrote in How to Pray: Living Wholly Through Honest, Surrendered, Heart Praying:
The kernel of the Lord’s Prayer was written in response to the disciples’ request. They wanted Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). But why? Surely they had been praying their entire lives. They were Jews, after all; religious people. What was it that they saw and heard in Jesus that would make them ask him to teach them to pray? It was a request that implied that either Jesus was praying in a way that was different from what they had always known and/or that something was different after he had prayed. We say this because they asked Jesus to teach them to pray when he had just finished praying (Smith 2015, 55–56).
You ask someone to show you how to do something when you consider what they’re doing to be effective. In some ways, therefore, the disciples were asking Jesus to show them how to pray effectively.
How to Pray Effectively Like Jesus
Yet, when you look at Jesus’ response you find a prayer. There is no treatise on how to get God to do what you want. Nor, does he talk about feeling God’s presence, though we love that. Instead Jesus taught a prayer that began with God. This was a prayer that was simple and basic. It was a prayer that Jesus lived, this prayer that we call, “The Lord’s Prayer.”
If you’re going to pray effectively like Jesus Christ, you will start with God. Your life will also mirror your prayers as you pray according to how God wants you to live.
How to pray effectively like Jesus? Look to Jesus Christ and start with God.
Experience God more fully through honest, surrendered, heart praying and live with greater clarity and peace.
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