Only God could show a scratched up, broken up, struggling Christian like me these amazing and beautiful secrets of answered prayer:
(this is an excerpt from I Told the Mountain to Move, by Patricia Raybon.)
1) Slow down.
God is not in our hurry. So pray first to rest. Go in to dwell with him — to enjoy God’s amazing presence. “She who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
2) Get up.
Sorrow is not an option for very long. Or as Jesus said to his beloved disciples: “Why are you still sleeping? Get up and pray! Then you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22:46)
3) Seek to know God.
He rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) “They that seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10). “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Prayer experts all agree: We pray not to get, but to get closer to God — indeed, to know Him for ourselves.
4) Believe God.
He wants to hear our prayers. He is listening for them. And he answers. The Scriptures confirm it. “Call to me and I will answer you…” (Jeremiah 33:3) “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them.” (Psalm 34:17) “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” (John 11:41)
5) Pray with praise, with awe.
Or as Jesus said, “Pray like this…hallowed be thy name.” Effective prayer warriors understand that God is our Abba Father, but also the Most High God. Pray accordingly — with praise, expectation, humble boldness, love and awe.
6) Make time for God.
It’s what every relationship needs. Eugene Peterson calls it “attending to God.” So attend! Jesus is our example. Getting by himself with His Heavenly Father was his daily and intentional practice. The result? Renewal, refreshment, vision, power.
7) Stop babbling.
Don’t talk so much in prayer. Our Heavenly Father already knows what you need. (Matthew 6:5-8) Spend as much time listening in prayer as talking! Try keeping a pencil and paper nearby. The Most High God will speak to our spirits as we wait for his voice in great expectation. “Pray with an alert mind,” and gratefully. (Colossians 4:2) So, pay attention. The blessed Holy Spirit will speak — both to you and through others.
8) Pray with precision.
Consider Bartimaeus and Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you?” I want to see, said Bartimaeus. What a great answer! Being vague won’t cut it. If you are stumped, ask the precious Holy Spirit to show you what to pray for in your situation — then ask God to provide it!
9) Ask also for this: Not to get, but to get changed.
10) Let God love you.
Then love others. God commands godly, loving, forgiving outreach for answered prayer. Andrew Murray: Our prayer life depends on our life!
11) Let God work.
Give God time. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. Murray calls this “spiritual husbandry.” Like farmers, we reap in due season. Don’t harvest half-ripe fruit. God may be working on a better outcome, not just for you, but for others through you.
12) Say thank you.
If you say nothing else in prayer, don’t forget to thank God for his amazing blessings, big and small, one by one. Perspective on everything else will change.
13) Glorify God.
Live so you glorify God. Pray for things that glorify God. Give up things that don’t glorify God. Murray: “It’s the essential element in a believer’s prayer. “Every answer to prayer He gives will have this as its object,” that God be glorified in his Son. If he’s not, “He will not answer.”
14) Abide in Christ.
His promise: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.” (John 15:7-8) As we abide, we learn to love others, and by our love we glorify the Father.
Glorify God, and unlock prayer answers, by learning to forgive others. Jesus: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
16) Pray for others.
Pray with others. Work with others. Help others. Foster: We are saved in community. In other words, we live in grace by loving imperfect people, even as we give them opportunity to love, pray and live with us.
17) Follow Jesus.
Pray in his name. Walk in his way. Model his character. “And we will receive whatever we ask of him because we obey his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.” (I John 3:22)
18) Serve others.
Wait on the Lord’s answers by sharing with others, in the meantime. (Matthrew 20:26)
Somebody is dying for your prayer. Remember that person or situation, knitting them back together with God, in a prayer meeting (a “paga” in Hebrew) that you call on that person’s behalf.
20) Live a great life.
Mother Teresa: “It’s not how much you do, but how much love you put into” what you do. Therefore, live deep, love others, greet strangers, read lots, laugh, sing, travel, play, get in hot water, figure a way out, help, give thanks, pray. When we do, our prayer life becomes our life. Thus by our living, we will “pray without ceasing.”
21) Expect an answer.
Imagine it. See it. Look for it. Trust God to be God. We can, therefore, be encouraged. We can live in hope. We can believe, and expect, we will receive. Jesus: “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)