Every Christian knows that they are expected to pray. Many Christians do pray, but yet still some do not get the expected results. I can't deny the fact that there may be many other factors which are responsible for that, but in most cases one can easily trace the cause of such to prayers prayed amiss!
James 4:3 KJV
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Let's keep aside 'that ye may consume it upon your lusts' to revisit it later.
Prayers prayed amiss are prayers that miss their target. It's like a man going hunting for the first day just after buying a gun the previous day, without proper knowledge on how to aim his shot at an animal. He'll possibly return home frustrated after firing many bullets off-targets in the forest.
I so much love the Acronym P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happens). It tells us in a nutshell how the prayers we pray should be structured. It is perfectly okay for Christians who are still new in the faith to pray the way they can and still get expected results, the LORD understands. But such quality of prayers will definitely lack the potency to keep sustaining them as they grow in the faith.
Spiritual growth doesn't only open doors to new dimensions and possibilities for us in God, it also attracts diverse challenges and more opposition from the enemy. During such transitions to higher levels in the LORD, the need for us to add more weight to our prayers can not be overemphasized!
As we mature in Christ there should be increase in our understanding of the Word; increase in our prayer lives, increase in the sharpness of our gifts and heightened sensitivity to leading of the Holy Spirit.
You will agree with me that the phones we use today may not be able to support certain new features that will be introduced in the next few years. It is either we'll have to upgrade the Operating System of the gadget or we'll simply dump it for a new one. Same thing applies to believers. From time to time, we need an upgrade. There's always more heights to attain.
I am not trying to insinuate that I have attained the highest level of spiritual growth. But I press on towards the prize. We all need to go for more as long are we're alive.
We are in the Last Days and the Christian journey isn't getting easier. The LORD never said it will. The End Time Christian must be equipped in and out in order to be able to withstand the great falling away that is already upon the world.
My prayer for someone reading this is that by the time you are done going through this article, may your prayer life receive a supernatural boost in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
WHAT MAKES EFFECTIVE AND ANSWERABLE PRAYERS?
At some point the Disciples of Jesus were also clueless concerning how they were suppose to pray. The question they asked the LORD portrayed their level. It was evident that they were still very young in the faith. Let us glean few points from the LORD's response which gave us the LORD's prayer that we have today:
Luke 11:1-4 KJV
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
The LORD's prayer is loaded in itself but it's only a summary of how we should pray. Some of the points we will consider below will be extracted by revelation from it.
● An Effective Prayer Shouldn't Fail To Acknowledge God First: At times the situations we find ourselves in can make us rush into making our requests known to God even before giving Him thanks. The LORD understands, but we must not get used to it, because He said in all things that we should give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
God knew what would happen in our life each day even before the happen. We are to trust that we are safe in His hands.
● An Effective Prayer Is Faith-Filled: Without faith our prayers are empty. And empty words don't kill a fly in the spirit, neither does it move a grain of sand. Faith gives life to prayers.
James 1:6-7 KJV
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Matthew 21:22 KJV
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
If we experience difficulty believing that our prayers are working instantly just as the words are proceeding out of our mouth, then we've missed it big time! Faith-filled prayers are powerful!
● It Goes According To The Word And Has God's Word As Part of Its Content: God's Word is powerful. It is our sword in the spirit. If we desire to see results and witness our prayers have tangible impact, we must learn to apply the Word of God in every prayer we pray. The need to memorize the Word can not be overemphasized! Prayers which are void of God's Word are half-baked. Powerful prayers are stuffed with the Word!
Hebrews 4:12 KJV
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Jeremiah 23:29 KJV
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord ; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
● Effective And Answerable Prayers Have The 'Perseverance' Component: The Christian who prays and gives up because the answer didn't come when it was expected or as expected lacks perseverance in prayer. Praying and leaving it in the hands of God is better; very different from praying, losing faith and giving up along the line.
Luke 18:1-5 KJV
And he spake a parable unto them to this end , that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
At times God can make us wait, not that He doesn't want to answer. The parable of the widow has one thing to teach us: perseverance! Pray, don't give up until something happens!
● Effective And Answerable Prayers Are Prayed According To The Will of God: This brings us back to the second part of James 3:4, "that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
Some of us ask God for the right thing at the wrong time. Presently, I don't need a car, there are other things I need which I know are presently in line with the will of the LORD for my life. So it would be a waste of time to ask God for a car right now.
How do we know the will of the LORD for us in each season we are and in each situation? We have the mind of Christ and we have the Word!
1 Corinthians 2:16 KJV
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is able to reveal to us the the mind of God so that we don't pray amiss. We are to listen to Him.
1 Corinthians 2:11 KJV
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
● Quality Time Spent Matters: Quantity isn't quality. But in prayer quantity can blend together with quality. Some years back some brethren usually told me, "I can pray for five minutes and receive answers". Well, good for them. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. But when the Holy Spirit leads us into prayer, we can spend hours without knowing. God doesn't like people coming in and rushing out of His Presence.
His Presence is more valuable than every other thing we have to do with our time. So spend quality time with God in prayer if you mean business.
● Effective And Answerable Prayers, Not For Showing-Off: I prefer to pray less in gatherings, that's what always works for me and should also work for every Christian. Our actual prayer life should be in our closet, where there is just us and God.
Matthew 6:5-6 KJV
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are : for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
● Pray Grindingly: There's no need to rush. We must be choosy with our words but touch on every subject you need to address before God. And mind what you say. Only say what you mean, because for those words we're going to receive answers. Multiple random (and maybe careless) words don't compare to specific and meaningful ones! You're talking to the Creator of the universe, so apply diligence!
Matthew 6:7 KJV
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do : for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
In conclusion, the Bible lets us know that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much(James 5:16). It commands answers and move mountains! I believe we won't pray amiss if you follow the few points in this article. If we pay attention to making our prayers effectual and fervent, we'll always see the expected results!
His Grace is sufficient for us. Amen!
Stay Pure, by His Grace. Remain Blessed!