The Secret to Great Prayer

I am amazed at how much we neglect the greatest source of power in our lives – Prayer. Are we just lazy? No! The answer is much simpler, but deeper. It is an issue of the heart and the heart is profoundly deep.

Preachers try many tactics to get us to pray. Some stir our emotions to motivate us. They employ stories from the Bible or real life to inspire us. Sometimes, they go to the dark side and use guilt to shame us into action. It works for a time, but our prayers quickly fade with our emotions.

Others attempt to motivate us through the mind. Information and Bible knowledge are their trade tools. They imagine that if they can only teach us the truth about prayer that we will do it. After all, it is logical.

Knowledge is trellis upon which the vine grows, but it has no life. At best it produces perfunctory prayer.

Peering about, I see some who have discovered the power of prayer. They intrigue me. Why does it stick with them? Here’s what I have discovered.

Great prayer arises out of a relationship with the Father, not out of stirred emotions or an instructed mind. Instead of prescribing duty or form, Jesus guided us to a relationship with the Father.

Jesus started with –“Our Father …” (Matthew 6:9). He knew the essence of prayer is relationship with the Invisible Father that consisted of four keys: Speaking, Listening, Hearing and Acting.


Get started! Just communicate with the Father by talking – typically aloud in your secret room. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6

Jesus taught us to block out all noise and distractions. Our Father is found in secret and will reward us.


Active listening is an art, not a science. We fail to listen primarily because we do not anticipate hearing anything. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice … and follow Me” – John 10:27. It is normal to hear our Shepherd’s voice. Today’s deaf spiritual ears are abnormal!

Paul writes that we cry out to God as “Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” – Romans 8:15-16.

Simply put – The Spirit speaks to our spirit, confirming that we are children of our Father.

Sermons that engage our minds or emotions often miss our spirit – the very core of our being. But this is precisely where the Spirit speaks to us.


Listening means we have our ears open, but we don’t always hear. I recall at age 21 learning to hear the Lord’s voice during my first year at theological school.

Upon arrival, I decided to learn the voice of the Holy Spirit. At first, I only heard crickets, but the Father who sees in secret soon rewarded me.

Over the following months, I made great breakthroughs in hearing the Spirit’s voice. After reading my Bible, I knelt, prayed and listened. The first thing I heard was a Bible verse – “Be still and know that I am God!” – Psalm 46:10 KJV.

Two months later, the Lord brought a young man named Joe into my life. We became roommates.

Joe had mastered the art of hearing the Spirit’s voice. So, he began to guide me. His encouragement expedited my ability to hear with great clarity and consistency.


Putting our faith into action is the greatest key to unlock answered prayer. It is also greatly difficult. We have nothing tangible to rely upon – only the Word of God and the Spirit’s confirmation in our spirit.

In Luke 5, we see faith in action. Four men carried a paralytic to Jesus to be healed. They faced insurmountable obstacles. The throng that crowed the house in which Jesus was located, prevented them from attaining their objective.

But faith is not deterred. These four men scrambled onto the roof, removed some tiles and lowered their friend down to Jesus.

One can only imagine the dirt and debris that fell upon those below. Then, the most remarkable thing occurred. Jesus saw their faith (Luke 5:20).

Actions take our faith from wishing to reality.

As you continue in your faith journey, turn your sights upon the Invisible Father. Learn to hear His voice through active listening. Then take bold action. Step out in faith. You will discover the secret and power of prayer and the incredible relationship with God as our Father.

So much awaits each of us. Let us arise and unlock our future by employing these four secret keys.

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Filed under Christian Living, Discipleship, Words and Thoughts of Jesus

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