To be an effective pray-er

Last week, a dear friend of mine died. She was a lady of prayer, a lady who also had a deep interest in mission. She was 91 years old.

For many years I worked in the same office as this lady. She had an outstanding Christian character which I admired. I was humbled to know that not only did she pray for me, but she also prayed for our three boys each day. At her funeral, I discovered that there were many others for whom she prayed each day as well. 

What makes a good pray-er? What has made the prayers of my friend so enriching and encouraging? I believe there are some key points.

Develop a deep trust that God hears and answers you.

If we are not convinced that God does what He says He’ll do, we will not believe prayer is effective and therefore we’ll not be regular and disciplined pray-ers. David was convinced. He penned these words, “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” (Psa 17:6). Then we have God’s words delivered to Jeremiah to rely on, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (Jer 33:3). Talking to God about situations mission partners are facing and interceding on their behalf, will make a difference. God does answer prayer. This fact must be bedrock to our understanding and faith.

Develop a passion for the Gospel

Mission partners will have had their hearts gripped by the importance of living out and communicating the Gospel message. And that should be the same for us as pray-ers. Romans 1:16 records ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile’ and having this core understanding will motivate s to pray more intentionally for someone working cross-culturally. 

Ask lots of questions

Adopt a mission partner or two (or more!). By having an enquiring mind to intentionally learn as much as you possibly can about a mission partner, their work and their situation, means you can pray all the more specifically and intelligently for them. By you entering into their lives and building up rapport, the mission partner will appreciate the support you provide. Recognise birthdays, find the timing of significant ministry events, celebrate other personal or ministry milestones with them. Subscribe to newsletters and our e-Connect for more general prayer information.

Look out for God’s answers

There’s nothing so encouraging as to recognise God’s answers to your prayers. It’s so rewarding and faith-building. Praying specifically enables identifiable results so don’t shy away from prayers of that kind. And be ready and willing to give God thanks for the things you’ve petitioned Him for and then seen the answer to. He loves a thankful heart.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of!” I believe that is true, as I know the God to whom we pray. I’m sure that that was the experience of my 91-year-old friend too as she prayed relentlessly for mission partners and others.