The 3rd Key to Effective Prayer - Praying From the Heart
By Bayless Conley
Today we will look at the third key to effective prayer. This key is found in Romans 10:9-10 where it says,
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Prayer must come from the heart. These verses in particular teach us that if a person is going to pray a prayer of salvation, the heart and the mouth must get together. It is not good enough to just have the words. Your heart and mouth must be in agreement.
I believe this truth applies to every kind of prayer. It is not good enough to just use eloquent words. There has to be heart behind them if you are going to realize results from your prayers.
I think only those things that burn brightly within our hearts truly touch the heart of God.
When I was young, I would go fishing with my cousins. At night, the bats would come out and my cousins would take a lure, and they would cast it up in the air. Every once in a great while one of the bats would hit the lure and get snagged.
I think when we pray, it is like casting lines up into the heavens. But it is only the prayers that come from our heart that ever hook onto anything in heaven.
Effective prayer comes from your heart.
The 4th Key to Effective Prayer - Consistent with God's Will
In order for your prayers to be effective, they need to be in line with God's Word and will. That is the fourth key to effective prayer.
This means you must have knowledge of God's Word. In John 15:7, Jesus says,
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."
If you abide in God and His words abide in you, your desires will line up with His will. How important it is for us to know the Word of God!
As Hebrews 4 reminds us, the Word of God is living and active and powerful. It is spirit; it is life. It's not just pages on a piece of paper. And as you are in the Word of God, I believe the Holy Spirit will paint heaven's pictures, heaven's thoughts, and heaven's ideas on the canvas of your heart and your mind.
As you read the Word of God, you will have confidence in your prayers because you will have God's heart. And when you have God's heart, He is going to answer your prayers because that is what He desires.
I also want to point you to 1 John 5:14 which says,
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
His will, of course, is His Word. So if you ask anything according to His Word, He will hear you. And if you know that He hears whatever you ask, you know you have the petitions you have asked of Him.
This means you and I need to know what the Bible says so that our prayers will be answered. Effective prayers are those that are in line with God's Word and will.
The 5th Key to Effective Prayer—Patient Endurance
The next key to effective prayer is the need to be patient. You need to be willing to endure.
Hebrews 6:11-15 says,
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Do you realize that once God gave Abraham and Sarah the promise of having a child, it was 25 years before Isaac was born? There was some patient enduring that took place before they obtained the reality of God's promise in their lives. And so it must be with us.
Perhaps you have been praying for things in your life, and you are getting discouraged. You must remember that God does not always work things on our timetable. He works according to His.
I just want to encourage you today: Be patient. Patience is that long-lasting quality of your faith.
A number of years ago I heard one person say that faith is like your hand and patience is like your arm. When you exercise faith, it is like holding up your hand against the problem, and as you do, things are being worked out. But if you take your patience down, your faith comes down with it.
Patience is the thing that keeps your faith applied until the answer comes.
Patience is a critical key to effective prayer. Whatever you are praying for, patiently endure.
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