Prayer to me is like a car engine. I don’t know everything about it, but I know it works. Sure I can point out some parts under the hood and tell you what they do, but I don’t understand fully how they work. I’ve replaced a couple of parts that were easy to do, but for the harder stuff, I go to someone who understands it more fully. They are able to replace anything under the hood and make it run as intended. I take it to them because they know and understand every part of an engine. They also know how to tweak it to get the most out of it.
Every one of us can pray. Every one of us can make it work. We may not understand how it works or what to do to get the most out of it, but we can push the gas and make it go. I’ve read where people have broken down “The Lord’s Prayer” and taught me how to pray. I’ve been given methods like “ACTS” (Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness, Supplication) to give structure to my prayers. I’ve been shown how to pray intensely so that my prayers have more power. There are so many things we can learn about prayer, but most of us leave the hood closed.
We’d rather just ask God for what we need rather than to intimately know God through our prayers. It can be scary getting to know an omnipotent God who wants to meet and converse daily. What if He asks me to go to some crazy part of the world that I won’t like? What if He tells me things I don’t want to hear? We let our fear of the unknown make our prayers a one way communication. We keep our effectiveness to a minimum and have to rely on others who understand it more fully to pray for us in our needs.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t go to others for help when praying for something. I believe in the power of multiple people praying and I know that there are others who have more effective prayers than I do. I seek them when I need it. What I’m saying is that each one of us have the ability to have effective prayers that God will not only hear, but answer. We have the ability to open the hood, tweak the things that need tweaking and make our prayers as effective as possible.
It’s going to require you to get a little dirty though. You’re going to have to do some work. You’re going to have to spend some time under the hood tinkering. Powerful, effective prayers come out of spending time with the one we’re talking to. They come from intimately knowing the One to whom we pray. They come from understanding what His will is and what His Word says. The more we know what His Word says, the more we pray in accordance with it. The more we pray in accordance with it, the more He answers. The more He answers, the more faith and confident we get. The more faith and confident we get, the more effective our prayers become.
Don’t be afraid to look under the hood of prayer. Learn what you can. Take time tweaking this and that to make it comfortable for you. Understand there are different types and ways to pray. Your prayers get an audience with the One who created everything you see. It’s worth investing time and energy to make them as effective as possible. Hang around others who get their prayers answered. Learn from them how to pray. Each one of us have room for growth in our prayers. To get better, we just have to open the hood.