The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
In order to have an effective prayer life, it is important to understand the various ways that we can communicate with God using the tool of prayer. It is important to know why we are praying, and what we are praying for. It is important that we have worked our faith to a point where we can trust in God to answer our prayers according to His will for our lives.
The Bible instructs us to cast all our cares to God in prayer, making our requests known to Him with an attitude of thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). We are to request what we need and then trust Him to meet our needs. As we do that, God acts - imparting to us His peace, and providing all that is beneficial for our eternal good.
God may not answer our prayers when we want... or even how we want. But He will always answer - even if the answer is not apparent to us, and it feels like He has ignored us, or not heard us. God's ways are higher than our ways - and therefore, how He 'answers' our prayers, will also operate on a heavenly and supernatural level that reveals and carries out His best intentions and plans for our lives.
It is good to know that we can pray effectively when we are in covenant with God and aligning ourselves with His divine will - praying as a "righteous man," as James instructs in 5:16. There are also different prayers to use in different situations. Knowing why we are praying, what we are praying for, and understanding how God answers prayers is vital if we want to pray effectively. Different prayers we can approach God with include:
Prayer of Faith. The Prayer of Faith should always be based on God's revealed will and His Word. It requires boldly declaring the Word of God over one's situation. Instead of 'God, please heal me, " one should pray, "Lord, your Word declares that by Your stripes, I AM HEALED!" This way you are declaring what you already know to be true based on God's Word.
Prayer of Commitment. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us we should pray "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." This kind of prayer declares your decision to give all of your concerns, fears, anxieties and problems to God. It is a conscious refusal to worry or have anxiety. This type of prayer has two parts: stating all of your requests to God, and committing to all Him to handle each request without interference from you.
Prayer of Agreement. This is the most powerful type of prayer. Matthew 18: 19 -20 tells us, "that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." This is a profound and powerful promise given to us by Jesus Christ! It means that whenever two people will believe together, and with the utmost faith believe on the Word of God, whatever they seek will be granted.
Intercessory Prayer. This involves praying for other people, nations, cities, and against the powers of darkness. The best example of and intercessor is Jesus himself; Romans 8:34 says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God and makes intercession for us. He asks the Lord to forgive us, and it is through Jesus' prayer that our slates are wiped clean when we repent and seek forgiveness. We have the ability to 'stand in the gap' of others in the same way, petitioning God on their behalf to answer our prayers -- by meeting their needs, saving their souls, or simply by showing mercy.
And remember: take every opportunity to appreciate the smallest answered prayer, and to meditate on God's faithfulness. You don't have to wait until you 'see' that your prayer has been answered -- give Him a prayer of thankfulness and praise right now for answering your prayers in His time, in His wisdom, and according to His will.
Because God is Good!