Doug Johnson: Now is the time to pray and pray effectively

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 31, 2023

Throughout history there have been many great revivals in which thousands of souls were saved and many miracles took place. 

All of these revivals had one thing in common — prayer. 

However, there seems to be a lack of desire in many churches today to pray. Prayer meeting, for the most part, is the least attended service of all the weekly church services.

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It seems that many people will come out to hear a special speaker or singing group, they’ll come out to eat homecoming dinner, they’ll even squeeze Vacation Bible School into their busy schedules…but when it’s time to pray they’ll stay home. 

The truth is, a church that lacks prayer power is a defeated church and the Christian that lacks the discipline to pray is a defeated Christian because we gain strength and power through prayer. 

This is why many churches across America have set aside the week of Jan. 7-13 as a National Week of Prayer to start the New Year off right. 

We live in a world full of diseases, terrorists, snipers, suicide bombers, etc. 

It seems we are surrounded by fear on every side. 

Now is the time to pray! 

But how does one pray effectively? 

The first step to praying effectively is: love. 

We must fall in love with Jesus first and foremost! 

In Revelation chapter 2 we read about the great church of Ephesus. 

The believers there worked and labored hard for God. 

They were patient people and couldn’t stand to be around wickedness. 

In fact, they had tested the imposters who called themselves apostles, found them to be liars and cast them out of their assembly. 

But in verse 4 Jesus said, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.” 

Could it be that some of us today have the same problem? 

We get so busy doing “God’s work” that we forget about God. 

God doesn’t want us to serve Him because we have to or because we owe Him anything. 

God wants us to serve Him because we love Him and that’s all the reason we need!

The second step to praying effectively is to develop a daily habit of prayer. Prayer is more than just merely telling God what you want Him to do for you… it is two-way communication between you and your heavenly Father. In Matthew 26:41, 

Jesus told His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 

When we pray, we build up a spiritual wall of protection to help us overcome temptation. 

When we stop praying, we become vulnerable to the enemy. 

Remember — prayer will keep a man from sinning or sin will keep him from praying!

The third step to praying effectively is to use scripture to guide your prayers. When you use scripture in your prayers something amazing happens, your faith starts to increase! Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Another scripture that encourages me to pray is Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

In other words, prayer and praise precede peace. 

If you need peace from the problems of life, then start praying and praising God! 

The book of Psalms is filled with prayers and praise from some great men of faith in the Bible…try using some of their words in your prayers.

Some people may think that prayer is futile, but we must remember that our country’s forefathers were also men of prayer. 

George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” 

We have a promise that God will answer us when we pray. So, give it a try… you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.