“All I can do is pray.”

As if prayer is what I do only when I can’t do anything else. As if I’ve said and done all I can to change a situation, and nothing has worked. Often preceded by, “I can’t do anything about it.”

Recently, the Holy Spirit convicted me of some wrong thinking I didn’t realize I had about prayer. He then began to continually remind me that prayer is a privilege. After all, I get to talk to the almighty God, and he hears me.

He’s let me know that prayer is not meant to supplement anything. Rather, prayer is meant to be a main activity out of which all my other words and actions flow.

A Habit of Prayer

A habit of daily prayer is wise. For me, this happens every morning. This habit is not enough, though. Instead, prayer must become my first response and my reaction in every situation.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

The Bible is certainly not silent about how, when, and why we should pray. Since we can’t be exhaustive, let’s be selective and consider a verse that helps us know what an effective prayer life looks like.

Effective Prayer

Right after describing the armor of God, Paul tells us to also pray.

“Pray all the time and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18)

From this verse, we know what effective prayer looks like.

  1. Effective prayer is absolute. Our perspective of prayer should be that of limitless possibility beyond what we can ask or imagine. All the time. Every occasion. All Christians. Everywhere. No exceptions.
  2. Effective prayer is powerful. This power comes from the Holy Spirit, not from our words or any action coming before or after prayer. Truly powerful prayer reminds us of our dependence on and our position in Christ.
  3. Effective prayer is persistent. This means we refuse to give up on prayer. We refuse to give up on praying for anyone. Our posture of prayer should be constant, continual, endless, and enduring.

When our perspective of prayer is absolute, we begin to have mountain-moving faith. When we realize our position in prayer is one of power, we move even further beyond the limits of our imagination. When our posture of prayer remains persistent, we begin to increasingly understand the role prayer can and should play in our lives. Hopefully, this then turns into action as we understand the importance of exercising the privilege of prayer.