“Anna, a prophet… lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.” Luke 2:36-37 (NLT)

Not all prayers are equal! Some prayers actually have more power and are more effective! That doesn’t mean God is not hearing every prayer, but some prayers literally get hindered and delayed. While other prayers hit the mark and release God’s power on earth, instantly! What’s the difference?

We are told that we have not because we ask not (James 4:2b). But in the next breath, James says we don’t receive when we have the wrong motives (James 4:3). Just asking God for something doesn’t mean we will get it! Likewise, our prayers are not magic incantations where if we say it right or enough times we will get the answer we seek. Nope, effective and powerful praying has more to do with tapping into God’s heart and will, agreeing with Him and asking Him by faith to release it here on earth!

Effective praying involves alignment with heaven! Effective prayer is actually our partnership with God, and it comes from a place of intimacy with Him! Not that He requires our help, but as John Wesley would say, “God does nothing apart from prayer!” Prayer plays a tremendously important role in God’s governing the earth, after all, He has given us dominion to rule and reign with Him over this planet. We do have a big part to play! Paul Billheimer says something to the effect that, prayer is God’s apprenticeship program to train His Bride to rule and reign with Him in eternity (Destined for the Throne)! I love that!

Yes, God could do it all alone! But He created us to join Him, and He trains us for ruling and reigning with Him in eternity through this apprenticeship program called prayer!

So, if our prayer impacts what God does on earth, and not all prayers are equal in doing that, then we should figure out how to pray effectively. We are told that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Obviously implying that there are prayers that are less effective. The life of the praying person impacts the effectiveness of their prayer. King David said that if he had cherished (or hidden) sin in his life God would not have listened to his prayers (Psalm 66:18-20). Our level of “righteousness” impacts the effectiveness of our prayer.

Anna the daughter of Phanuel prayed day and night in the temple for over 80 years (Luke 2:37). Her fasting, worship and prayer undoubtedly helped prepare the way for the Messiah. When Baby Jesus was brought to the Temple, she was recognized His true identity, and was blessed to see the answer to her years of prayer. Yes, though it took 80 years, her prayers were effective! So persevering prayer is a key to effective prayer.

The prophet told us that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). In other words, God doesn’t speak empty or vain words, but every word He speaks is meant to accomplish what it was sent out to do. But why then does He seem to tarry in bringing forth the harvest of His words? I believe it has more to do with our not taking hold of it in faith and through prayer releasing it on earth! Word based prayer is another key to effective prayer.

Another prophet declared that God is actually watching over every promise and word that He has spoken, waiting to fulfill them (Jeremiah 1:12). But again, what if the reason it has taken so long is because He is waiting for us to mature in our prayer? Our prayer, faith-filled, Holy Spirit led prayer, is absolutely needed in this hour!!! Praying into God’s promises is another key to effective prayer!

Ask God to teach you how to pray more effectively this year! Whether you’ve been praying for 80 years, or are just beginning, we all have more to learn about growing in effective prayer. Tell Him that you want to be the best apprentice possible. Start by asking Him for a grace to draw even closer to Him in 2024. Ask Him for a grace to be teachable, hungry, humble and responsive as He leads you. Ask Him for a grace like Anna had to persevere as long as it takes. Ask Him to show you where you have been praying ineffectively, whether with wrong motives or without faith. And if you have slacked off in your prayer life, repent and ask Him to give you the mantle of prayer once again. Ask Him to show you how to take hold of His promises, His prophecies and His word and not let go until the answer comes! And thank Him for what He is about to release through you!!!