How Much Do You Know About Prayer?
The purpose for writing this handbook is to help Christian believers to easily and quickly obtain the information or tools needed for effective prayer. Effective prayer is the key element to rising above a mediocre, average, or ordinary Christian life.
Therefore, this book presents the Hows and Whys of effective prayer using the KISS principle—Keep It Simple Saints. Great effort was made to put the cookies on the bottom shelf so that anyone can easily reach and consume them.
However, the subject matter presented is thorough. Ministry leaders, lay people, as well as new converts, can easily use this book to preach, teach, and/or learn the principles of effective prayer. Pastors, ministers, evangelists, and teachers will discover that the simple way the book is organized allows quick conversion of its contents into discussion points for sermons or teaching.
Likewise, this book has a simple but complete Table of Contents, appendices, indices, and notes, allowing readers to dig as deep as they desire. But, the appendices, indices, and notes are not necessary for a basic working knowledge of effective prayer.
Also, the Table of Contents contains several Decision Points to allow readers to skip over portions of discussion on most subject matters. And so a reader can quickly rake out the chunks of confusion or uncertainty about prayer. Then, at a later time, readers can sift through the appendices, indices, notes, and the material not read at the Decision Points. This method of absorbing the book’s content will provide an in-depth understanding of the material or how to teach or preach the tools of effective prayer. And it enables readers to more quickly absorb and install the essentials of prayer into daily life.
There are many very good books on prayer. But as you read this book, you will discover that none are as complete and simple in the organization and presentation of the subject matter as Tools for Effective Prayer.
Just like your lifestyle, your current prayer life is also “perfectly designed to produce the result you are getting.”1 Therefore, if you want a prayer life that will bring more glory to God, enable you to see God’s face clearer than you have ever seen it before, and move God’s hand in your favor like never before—then you must start praying like you have never prayed before! Tools for Effective Prayer will teach you how to do that. I am sure that after you read this book and apply the principles of prayer contained in it, you will be equipped and able to live the abundant life that Christ died to provide for the saints of God. And your life will never ever be the same again!
In summary, the intent of this book is not to cause anyone to feel guilty about their shortcomings in their prayer life. The intent is to give you the tools for effective prayer so that you may have the ability to take your prayer life to a new higher level. This book will encourage, motivate, and teach you how to pray with power and effectiveness. So let me start you out on your journey to more effective and powerful prayer with some words of encouragement from the great saint of God, E.M. Bound. The following is a quote from his great little book entitled, Power Through Prayer:
The apostles “gave themselves to prayer” —the most difficult thing to get men or even the preachers to do. Laymen there are who will give their money—some of them in rich abundance—but they will not “give themselves” to prayer, without which their money is but a curse. There are preachers who will preach and deliver great and eloquent addresses on the need of revival and the spread of the kingdom of God, but not many there are who will do that without which all preaching and organizing are worse than vain—pray. It is out of date, almost a lost art, and the greatest benefactor for this age could have is the man who will bring the preachers and the church back to prayer.2
Why Is Prayer Important?
The first question on the journey to effective prayer that must be explicitly answered is—Why is prayer important? Prayer is important because it is where the sovereignty of God, the all-powerful rule and control of God, meets with the free-will of man in a partnership established to bring glory to God. God, in His infinite wisdom, gave man the right to make choices and decisions for himself. But man’s choices and decisions are like a paintbrush that creates a picture of his (or her) life.
Therefore, through effective communication with God in prayer, it is possible to receive the knowledge, wisdom, and discernment to make choices and decisions that will bring bountiful glory to God. And—these kinds of choices and decisions will paint a picture of the good life for which men and women so desperately hunger and thirst!
In other words, effective prayer is not naming and claiming things, blabbing and grabbing things, or confessing and possessing things to satisfy a person’s selfish desires. James, the half-brother of Jesus said: “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. [And] When you [do] ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (4:2-3).
And so the message from James in the above text is twofold: (1) You must ask God in order to receive something from Him—even though He already knows what you need or want. And (2) When you pray and ask God for something and do not get what you prayed for, it is because you did not pray effectively or with right motives.
But of the two, the primary message from James in this text is that effective prayer is—right motives—or aligning our will with God’s will—for His glory.