// Kenneth E. Hagin
Learning how to pray effectively is one of the most important things believers can ever do in their Christian walk. Really, we cannot be successful in fulfilling God's purpose in our lives if we do not know how to pray according to biblical principles.
Our prayer life should be based and built upon the Word of God. In this article I will mention four of the many principles of prayer found in His Word. As you learn these principles, determine to get them into your heart so you can put them into practice in your own private prayer life. I began doing this as a young man and I have been receiving answers to my prayers ever since. These steps will help all believers receive answers to their prayers.
On the other hand, if someone went to the store to buy a few things, and he bought just those things, you wouldn't think anything was wrong. In fact, you could say he was being definite in what he was doing. In the same way, decide what you want from God and be definite about it. Then find scriptures from the Word that promise you whatever it is you want. Be specific in your praying.
Be Specific and Stand on God's Promises
Here is one step to answered prayer: decide what you want from God and find the scripture or scriptures that promise you these things.
So many times we are indefinite in our praying. I would rather folks pray two or three minutes and know what they're praying about than pray two or three hours and not know.
Sometimes when I ask people what they are praying about, they say they don't know. I asked one person what he was praying about, and he said he was praying just to be praying!
I realize there is one kind of prayer whereby we pray to have fellowship with God. But I am talking about praying to God specifically to receive an answer to prayer. If we are not careful, the first kind of praying I talked about—praying to have fellowship with God—will spill over into the realm of praying specifically in order to receive an
One time a certain minister asked me to pray for him. I asked him what he wanted me to pray for, and he said he didn't know. Now if you went to a grocery store and pushed your cart up and down the aisles, but didn't buy anything, people would think something was wrong
You Must Ask God for What You Want
A second step to answered prayer is to ask God for the things you want and believe that you receive them.
Certainly, God knows what we need even before we ask. The Bible says, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt. 6:32). But we're also told to ask for what we need. To say that we're leaving it up to God and that we know He will automatically do whatever is best is unscriptural. Jesus Himself said we are to ask God for what we need.
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
So ask God for the things you want and need, and then believe that you have them.
Be Positive in Your Thinking
A third step to answered prayer is to let every thought affirm that you have what you asked for.
After you pray in faith according to God's Word, never permit a picture of failure to remain in your mind. Once you've prayed and asked God for something, never doubt that you have the answer. If doubts persist, rebuke them. Get your mind on the answer. To do that, you will have to get your mind on the Word. The Bible says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Doubt is from the devil.
To receive answers to your prayers, you must eradicate every image, suggestion, vision, and all other thoughts that do not contribute to your faith. You have to stay
positive in your thinking.
Guard Your Mind
A fourth step to answered prayer is this: guard against every evil thought that comes into your mind to try to make you doubt God's Word.
Thoughts are governed by observation, association, and teaching. So this step is closely associated with step number three. The Bible says we are to cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5). That's why you should stay away from all places and things that do not support your affirmation that God has answered your prayer.
The Bible tells us in Philippians chapter 4 exactly what to think on.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are OF GOOD REPORT; if there be ANY VIRTURE, and if there be ANY PRAISE, think on these things.
Many people are thinking on the wrong things, and they're defeated in life as a result. But guard against every evil thought and think only on those things which affirm that God has heard and answered your prayers. If you will do that, you will be cooperating with God in faith. You will have to guard your mind in order to develop in faith. And as you stand your ground firm in faith, your faith will see you through to victory!
To receive answers to your prayers, decide what you want from God and find scriptures for what you need. Ask God for those things, and when you pray, believe that you receive them. Let every thought affirm that you have what you've asked for. And guard your mind against every evil thought. Faithfully following these steps will move you along the path to answered prayer.
[Editor's Note: This article was adapted from Kenneth E. Hagin's Bible Prayer Study Course.]