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What is Effective Prayer?
Is effective prayer getting God to do the things I ask?
If this is what we think then we will grade our prayers based on what we get out of them. We can then rank others’ spirituality against our own. That way we can figure out who are God’s favorites.
For example, we can assign the most spiritual people as those who can raise the dead. From there we can work backwards through a list of miracles, each one a little smaller in scope, until we find our own niche, which might be the ability to have red lights turn green when we are late and parking spaces open up close to building entrances.
If this sounds silly and we don’t want to put God to any obvious test (Matthew 4:7), then we might choose to couch our motives and play it safe by asking for generalities like world peace or improvements in our attitudes.
But what if effective prayer is not this at all?
What if effective prayer results in a desire to keep praying because we discover a love we just can’t live without?
I think my highest prayer might simply be to know God better every day.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.