How to Pray More Effectively

Having been asked lately to give some information on “how to pray,” I submit the following information. The words, “pray, prayer, prayers, praying, or prayed” occur in the King James Bible a total of 508 times. Some of the usages are not related to prayer to Yahweh, but rather in the sense of “ask,” as in Genesis 12:13, where Abraham asked Sarah to say she was his sister, instead of his wife (actually she was both, being his half-sister).

(Gen 12:13 KJV)  "Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee."

But many of the usages are referring to prayer to our Mighty One, Yahweh.

Job 16:17  Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.

Be sure our prayers are pure. To accomplish this, our minds must be pure. We should be sure that we are in His good graces when we pray, that we are not in sin, unless it is a prayer of repentance, in which case we should have forsaken the sin. Otherwise, the prayer will go only ceiling high.

(Psa 5:3 KJV)  "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O YHWH; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Make it a habit to put your prayers first every day. Let nothing come between you and your prayer time.

(Psa 17:1 NRSV)  "Hear a just cause, O YHWH; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit."

Don’t try to pull the wool over YHWH’s eyes. It won’t work. Come to Him in honesty and sincerity. Just tell it like it is.

(Psa 55:17-18 KJV)  "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. {18} He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me."

Pray often when afflicted. David prayed three times a day, especially when in dire straits. Daniel did, too, as we will see later.

(Psa 86:1-7 NRSV)  "Incline your ear, O YHWH, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. {2} Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my Mighty One; {3} be gracious to me, O YHWH, for to you do I cry all day long. {4} Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O YHWH, I lift up my soul. {5} For you, O YHWH, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. {6} Give ear, O YHWH, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication. {7} In the day of my trouble I call on you, for you will answer me."

David beseeched YHWH for relief, and praised Him for His goodness, for His love to all who call on Him in sincerity and truth.

(Psa 122:6-8 NRSV)  "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you. {7} Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers." {8} For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you.""

Jerusalem did not prosper, in spite of the prayers of David and others. And why not? Because the people abandoned Yahweh and took up pagan rites, just as Christians have today. They claim to get their religion out of the Scriptures, but burn incense to Baal (Christmas candles), light fires to the sun god (New Year’s bonfires), bake cakes to the queen of heaven (Easter), pay homage to “St. Valentine,” who in reality is Nimrod the sex god, and then say “we are delivered to do all these things” (Jer. 7:9-10). Present-day Christians say they are ‘delivered’ from YHWH’s Law. “That old Jewish yoke of bondage is done away,” they declare.

(Prov 28:9-10 NRSV)  "When one will not listen to the law, even one's prayers are an abomination. {10} Those who mislead the upright into evil ways will fall into pits of their own making, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance."

(Psa 142:1-2 KJV)  "Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave. I cried unto Yahweh with my voice; with my voice unto Yahweh did I make my supplication. {2} I poured out my complaint before him; I showed before him my trouble."

Pray audibly. Let him hear your voice. If your circumstances are such that you cannot cry out as David did, then do it quietly, yet audibly. There are times for silent prayer, but it should not be the norm. And let Him know what is troubling you. However, do avoid “vain repetition,” as the heathen do. (Mat 6:7).

 (Dan 6:10-11 KJV)  "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before (Yahweh), as he did aforetime. {11} Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his Deity."

Daniel deliberately defied the king’s law, because the law of Yahweh, whom he served, was and is a higher law. The apostles told the Jewish “authorities” that we should “obey Yahweh rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Daniel prayed three times a day, just as he had done before the law was passed.

(Hab 3:1-2 NRSV)  "A prayer of the prophet Habakkuk according to Shigionoth. {2} O YHWH, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O YHWH, of your work. In our own time revive it; in our own time make it known; in wrath may you remember mercy."

Ask Yahweh to have mercy on His people, who are struggling to cope in this world of corruption, violence and evil. We must live IN the world, but we are not to be OF the world. We must not compromise with evil. Ask YHWH to send more of His Spirit to strengthen us against evil spirits and our own evil natures and desires of the flesh. Ask Him to have mercy on us, His chosen ones.

(Mat 5:44-48 NRSV)  "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, {45} so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. {46} For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? {47} And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? {48} Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

This should read “become perfect,…” None of us can attain to perfection in this life, despite what is recorded in our Bibles about being perfect now. As used, it means to be complete in mental and moral character. We will attain perfection at the resurrection of the just, when we are changed to immortality (Luke 14:14, Acts 24:15, 1 Cor. 15:52-54).

(Mat 6:5-8 KJV)  "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. {6} But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (this word “openly” is not in most other texts). {7} But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. {8} Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

“Vain repetitions” reminds me of seeing members of a certain pagan group praying while prostrating themselves, reciting prayers; of others with their prayer wheels, which supposedly sends their prayers to heaven; of yet others at their “wailing wall,” standing and nodding as they mumble their prayers. When we have needs, just say so. He does not need a bunch of insincere platitudes. But don’t ask Him to do things for us that we can do for ourselves.

(Mat 6:9-13 KJV)  "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Hallowed means holy – set apart). {10} Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Send your Kingdom here,  on earth, so that Your will may be done here as it is now being done in the heavens). {11} Give us this day our daily bread. (supply our daily needs). {12} And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. {13} And lead us not into temptation,(heavy testing or trials) but deliver us from evil: (the evil one) For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

(Mat 9:36-38 KJV)  "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. {37} Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; {38} Pray ye therefore Yahweh of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (This is where you and I come in. We are the laborers that He has called to the harvest. See the article on page 3.

(Mat 19:13-15 NRSV)  "Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; {14} but Yahshua said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs." (We have to become as little children, pliable, moldable, willing to be taught the right way) {15} And he laid his hands on them and went on his way."(This is where we get the tradition of blessing of infants and small children at the Feast of Tabernacles).

(Mat 23:14 KJV)  "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."

(Mat 24:20 KJV)  "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:" (this is speaking of a time yet in the future, which clearly shows that the Sabbath is still valid.)

(Mat 26:36-41 KJV)  "Then cometh Yahshua with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. {37} And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. {38} Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. {39} And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Remember, it is His will we are seeking, and not our own. He knows what is best for us.) {40} And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? {41} Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

(Mark 11:24-26 KJV)  "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.(Have faith.) {25} And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. {26} But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (If we are not willing to forgive those who sin against us, then He will not forgive us).

Read all of John 17, Yahshua’s prayer the night in which He was betrayed; AND the many examples of prayers for many different things to be found in the Book of Acts, such as chapters 1:14-24, choosing a leader; 6, choosing deacons; 8:15; 10; 12:5-12; 14:23; 16:24-26; 20:34-36; 21:5; 28:8.

(Rom 1:9-12 NRSV)  "For Yahweh, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, (always remember to pray for other Saints) {10} asking that by Yahweh's will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. {11} For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-- {12} or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine."

(Rom 8:26-28 NRSV)  "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. {27} And Yahweh, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of Yahweh. {28} We know that all things work together for good for those who love Yahweh, who are called according to his purpose."

(Rom 12:9-14 NRSV)  "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; {10} love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. {11} Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve YHWH. {12} Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. {13} Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. {14} Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them."

(Eph 6:18-19 NRSV)  "Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. {19} Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel," (pray for the elders, teachers, those who speak, that they will bring the True Word for our edification).

(Phil 1:18-19 NRSV)  "What does it matter? Just this, that Messiah is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, {19} for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Yahshua Messiah this will turn out for my deliverance."

(Phil 4:6 NRSV)  "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to Yahweh."

(Col 4:2-6 NRSV)  "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. {3} At the same time pray for us as well that Yahweh will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Messiah, for which I am in prison, {4} so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should. {5} Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. {6} Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone."

(1 Th 5:17-18 KJV)  "Pray without ceasing. {18} In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua concerning you."

(1 Tim 2:3-6 NRSV)  "This is right and is acceptable in the sight of Yahweh our Savior, {4} who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. {5} For there is one Yahweh; there is also one mediator between Yahweh and humankind, Messiah Yahshua, himself human, {6} who gave himself a ransom for all --this was attested at the right time."

(1 Tim 2:8-12 NRSV)  "I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; {9} also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, {10} but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for Yahweh. (this should read, “…not ONLY with their hair braided, etc...” but ALSO with good works, etc.” This is NOT a prohibition against wearing jewelry, or nice clothes, or braided hair.)

(1 Tim 4:1-5 KJV)  "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; {2} Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; {3} Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which Yahweh hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. {4} For every creature of Yahweh is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: {5} For it is sanctified by the word of Yahweh and prayer." (He is not speaking of unclean meats, but the meats that are sanctified by His Word in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Always thank and ask Yahweh’s blessing before you eat.)

(James 5:13-16 KJV)  "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. {14} Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Assembly; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of  Yahshua: {15} And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and Yahweh shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. {16} Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (Pray for the sick. Another reading of this last sentence is: “The fervent prayer of a righteous man makes available a tremendous amount of power.”)

(1 Pet 3:7-8 NRSV)  "Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life--so that nothing may hinder your prayers. {8} Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind." (If we are not considerate of our wives; if we do not pay them the honor they deserve, then our prayers may be hindered.)

This is a lot of scripture, but how better to tell someone how to pray, than by the examples we find in the Scriptures? All of life’s answers are to be found there. We just have to search them out – “search the Scriptures,” then put those answers to work. Knowing and not doing is worse than not knowing.

 (The following article was written by Bro. Lew White, author of Fossilized Customs, End of  Days, At the Last Trump; Torah Zone, etc. You will note that he uses a slightly different pronunciation than we do for the Sacred Names.)