Praying effectively means praying with sincerity. Prayer is not a speech, it is a petition for intervention. God is not impressed by our vocabulary, title, name, influential friends, residence, nor attire. Who gives any gift expressing more concern for the gift than the recipient? Instead, God is impressed by sincerity. The truth is that we are always exposed before God no matter how others may perceive us. There is no need to hide anything from God, no matter how difficult, shameful, or disappointing because our Creator – the One who operates in and out of time – knows about it anyway. Our prayers are not to inform God, but to reinforce our own belief by inviting His will into every situation that burdens our hearts.
Early in our faith journey, we may operate as though we are courteously bringing issues to God’s attention. God is GOD! Our Divine Creator is not a celestial genie who created us and the universe, then abandoned us for another project. In fact, Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Prayer is a vehicle to recognize divinity within ourselves and connect to the source of said divinity. Simply put, prayer is “powering up”. Prayer allows us to connect to the source of our divine power, and invite God into every situation that concerns us. Prayer is an exercise in connecting with God. The more often we pray, the more connected we are, the more power we have. The same way that we become concerned when a physical battery runs low, we need to do a spiritual power check and seek God to power up our spiritual batteries.
In our prayer time, the first order of business is to ask God to cleanse our heart. Hebrews 10:22 reminds us to”…draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
We must ask God to perform divine heart surgery. God needs a heart that is willing to obey him, that is pliable and warm. You cannot have a brittle, selfish heart hardened by disappointment, pride, and fear, then in the next breath ask for God’s intervention. Prayer must occur from the inside out. It must start with condition of our own heart before petitioning our Lord about any other thing. Cultivating your heart – asking him to remove scars from past hurts, to tear down emotional walls you’ve built out of self-defense, to forgive those who you feel have wronged you – means that you are keeping it real with your Creator. This does not discount your struggle or pain, but rather releases it so that it no longer has control over you and your ability to enjoy the precious life that God gave you.