The Bible gives examples of effective prayers.
We can see what God likes to hear.
And let’s especially notice one trait
answered prayers have in common.
Hezekiah, 2 Kg. 20:3—After Isaiah told him God said he was going to die, the king wept bitterly. He asked God to “remember” his obedience and faithfulness, like Moses, Hannah and Nehemiah ( 5:19, 13:14, 22).
Moses, Ex. 32:11—After the golden calf orgy, God told Moses He was going to consume Israel and start over with Moses. Moses pleaded with God to “remember” His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And what would the Gentiles say?
Hannah, 1 Sam. 1:10-15, 2:1-10—Provoked year by year for being barren by her husband’s other wife, Hannah fasted and wept in anguish. She spoke heartfelt even in silent prayer. She “poured out my soul before the Lord.” She asked God to remember His maidservant. After Samuel was miraculously born, she rejoiced and praised God.
Elijah, 1 Kg. 18:36-37, 42— 450 prophets of Baal would testify to the power of this 15-second prayer! Elijah asked God to “Let it be known that you are God and I’m your servant.” James 5:17 said Elijah “prayed earnestly.” When Jezebel scared him, Elijah begged that he might die—but God was not going to grant that request!
Daniel, 9:2-19— Excited about the nearing end of the 70 year desolations of Jerusalem, Daniel prayed with supplication and fasting. He praised God and reminded Him of His promises. He deeply confessed “we have sinned.” He pleaded for forgiveness and restoration.
David, Psalm 51—After being confronted by Nathan the Prophet about what he did with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, David prayed repentance. He said he sinned against God only. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart.” He pleaded with God to renew a right spirit and restore to him the joy of salvation. His psalm is often sung during Passover services.
Jabez, 1 Chron. 4:10— Jabez asked God to bless him, enlarge his territory and be with him. Thanks to being named “He Will Cause Pain,” Jabez so wanted God to “keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
Jonah, 1:14, 2:1-9, 4:2-3—Fearing they were about to be smashed and drowned, sailors cried out to God to spare their “innocent blood” when it was Jonah He was angry with. From within the belly of the special fish prepared for him, reeking and draped in seaweed, Jonah cried out to God and thanked Him for delivering him. But after Ninevah repented with fasting, Jonah was exceedingly disappointed because Assyria wouldn’t be getting theirs and later they would come against his people Israel, who were too stiff-necked to repent like Ninevah did. Like Elijah, Jonah begged to die, but God rejected his fervent request like he did Elijah’s.
Stephen, Acts 7:59-60—As he was being stoned, Stephen cried out with a loud voice for God not to charge them with this sin.
Real Lord’s Prayer, John 17— Just before the mob came for him, Jesus glorified the Father and asked for His glory back. He prayed for those the Father would give Him to not be of the world, be sanctified by the Word and be unified in love.
What trait did all these effective prayers have in common?
“The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
The Bible compares prayer to incense (Psa. 141:2, Rev. 8:3-4). Prayers should be beaten fine, have blend of ingredients (discuss everything with God) and be sweet and appealing to God.
And they must be heated up (fervent). Room fresheners are designed to heat up at room temperature. Deodorants at 98.6 degrees.
Prayers heat up when you remind yourself that you are privileged to talk to the Supreme Power of the universe during the time He is upholding and directing it—at any time you choose!
Make it fervent!