Prayer can activate the power of God. In other words God can move in response to the prayers of His people. How our prayers effects God's sovereignty is still a mystery. But we are told that The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16). That's why prayer should come from a pure heart. If there is a bunch of garbage in our lives then the channel of prayer seems to be reduced if not closed completely.(1)
We are told With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit...(Ephesians 6:18). This means to pray consistently with the Spirit of God. Sometimes the Spirit of God's will can be found in His word. For example, if someone were to pray to God to show them how to use the strength He has already given them not to have any other god's (this includes money, career, family, etc..) in their life, this would be praying in the spirit, because this request is also the same will that the (Holy) Spirit of God would have for you. Prayer therefore can help to align us with the will of God.(1)
1Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us to pray without ceasing. To do this does not mean to pray all day everyday without ever stopping. It does mean that we can be in an attitude of God consciousness at all times. In other words we could see everything in relation to God. Whatever is going on becomes something we can talk to God about. Good things or bad. When bad things occur, this gives us the opportunity to ask God to make them better. When good things occur, this gives us the opportunity to thank God for His goodness.(1) Prayer has been described as the unending preoccupation of those who know God intimately.
Many Christians end their prayers by saying "In Jesus Name I pray". This does not mean that by adding these words we are somehow adding some magical formula to our prayer that gives it a special status. To ask for something in Christ name does not mean to end our prayers with this liturgy. Very few prayers in scripture end this way.(1)
Praying in Jesus name means praying consistently with who He is. The "Name" means all that He is. It is saying that "This I ask as if Christ were asking it". The Name of Christ is the totality of His person. Because of who He is. Because of His power. Because of His person. It is the same as saying, "Father, this I ask because I know this is what Jesus would want". Asking for things like someone else to be saved or for our own spiritual growth and protection is a perfect example of asking in Jesus name because we know He would want these things. Since asking in Jesus Name also represents the will of God Himself we are taught, "Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it (John 14-13-14).(1)
We should pray with a heart that believes with faith that God will answer our prayers however He sees best: And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive (Matthew 21:22). (1)
Often we can ask or pray for things that are not really God's will for us. It is best to do it God's way from the beginning. When praying in God's will you are acknowledging that whatever God would want to do would be best. God does however sometimes give us what we want to help teach us a lesson. Think of Israel who had God to lead them but yet they asked for a king like all the nations that surrounded them. Even though it would have been best to look to God and only God for direction, Israel was granted their request by God and Israel's first king, Saul, ruled over them.(1)
Continue to seek the Lord, not in meaningless repetition but in earnestness. Prayer is important and asking God for anything is serious so we should do our best to be in a proper state of mind. In Luke 11: 5-8 we are taught to pray with persistence.
What's the point of prayer when we pray for safe travel for someone and an accident occurs resulting in death and it is stated as God's will?
We have to learn to let God say no. Prayer is still useful because we are still communicating with Him. Prayer must be offered in His will. (Ex. Father, give us safe travel, in your will).
Jesus prayed - Father, save me from this hour, (take this cup from me, Jesus knew He was about to be crucified) never the less not my will be done but yours (Luke 22:42). Jesus' prayer may seem like it did no good because He was crucified anyway. But it really did do good because it teaches us that regardless of what He (Jesus) wanted, what God the Father wanted was more important and Jesus was prepared to submit.
You make the petition and God makes the decision.(1)
The problem with praying for more is that it assumes that you need something you don't already have. The answer may be to re-word the prayer request something like this. Lord, help me to exercise that which you have already given me. Please help me to find the strength that you have already given me through the Holy Spirit. We may indeed need a little more of something to accomplish things once in a while but let's make sure we are using what we already have to the best of our ability. Since God gives us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the time we put our faith in Christ it may be our end that needs more. More quiet time to hear His voice and help with direction. More obedience to His word and more of a desire to see His will done in our life instead of our own will or what we think His will should be.(1)
The Prayer Of Salvation is always answered when said with a sincere heart. Since many unsaved people are not familiar with the will of God for their lives, many prayers go unanswered.
To help children understand prayer you might consider using The Lord's Prayer and talking with the children about what you are asking for.
You can pray to anyone in the trinity you want to. The Father, The Son, or the Holy Spirit.(1)
We Are Told To Pray:
Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you (Ps. 32:6). And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith (Matthew 21:22).
Prayer Brings Glory To God:
Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13). When He answers then you praise Him. (1)
Prayer Blesses Us:
Prayer makes us happy because we are talking to God, God answers, and we are happy. (1)
And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him (1 John 5:15). (1)
Sometimes Prayer Works Immediately.
It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear (Isaiah 65:24). (1)
Sometimes Prayer Is Delayed:
now, will not God bring about justice for His select who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? (Luke 18:7). (1)
Sometimes God gives Us More Than We Asked For:
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). (1)
Sometimes There Is Purpose In Our Suffering:
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3). (1)
Putting Out Fleeces For God: In Judges 6:37 we are told the story of Gideon literally putting out a piece of sheep's skin (fleece) for God to either make wet or make dry as a sign from God to Gideon. Although God honored Gideon's request both times it is not recommended that we do as Gideon did. We should never put God in a situation where you force the issue. This is like trying to put God in a corner and even if the cause is a worthy cause the timing might not be God's timing. This is kind of the same thing Satan did to Jesus when Satan asked Jesus to dive off of the temple and if God catches you we will know your the Messiah. Jesus responded by telling Satan not to tempt the Lord our God.
Supplication means asking for things:
Intercession means praying for the needs of others:
Thanksgiving is thanking God for all He has done:
1). John MacArthur Radio Program Grace to You 10-10-2007