“We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:21-22).
Obedience is fundamental to effective prayer. Only people who obey God have the right to go into his presence with requests. God delights in the prayers of his obedient children. When we want what God wants and live the way he likes, then we will tend to pray prayers that God will answer in the way we expect. And God, in answering our prayers, is supporting what he approves. Were God to answer the prayers of the disobedient, he would be aiding and abetting what he does not approve. That would be out of character for God. To put it in other words, if we expect God to do for us what we ask, we should be prepared to do for God what he asks. If we listen to his words of command, God will listen to our words of request.
This principle also explains much of the weakness of prayer. Lack of power, lack of perseverance, and lack of confidence in prayer all stem from some lack in the Christian life. Often when prayer fails and we receive no answers, we assume the problem is in God while in reality the problem really is in us.
Gracious God, I give You praise for Your generous, giving nature. Forgive me of my failure to keep Your commands and to do what pleases You. Help my desires in prayer to be in perfect alignment with Your will for the glory of Your kingdom.
–Taken from Love to Pray by Alvin J. VanderGriend
Praise God as the Rock, your stronghold and fortress (Ps. 144:1-2). Thank him for being a solid foundation on which to stand spiritually, so that nothing can shake you (Mt. 7:24-25). Confess those times in your life when you have stepped off the rock solid foundation of God’s Word and relied on your own understanding. Commit yourself to building your life on Christ’s teachings. Ask God to help you plant your feet firmly in his Word each day.
Pray for the devotional times of the families that you know, that regular times of prayer and Bible reading will help bond family members to each other and to God. Pray that your single friends may find a group of spiritual brothers and sisters to do this with as well.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend