As long as we are going to take the time to pray, we might as well be as effective in its exercise as we possibly can be. You can improve your prayer life by improving your:
Spiritual Conditioning – Matt 26:41 – after spending all day, and much of the evening, with Jesus listening to him teach, the disciples were tired. When they went into the garden to pray with him, they couldn’t stay awake. The Lord said, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Truly, our flesh is weak when it comes to prayer. However, the more you pray, the better you are going to be at praying. It’s just like your physical conditioning. Your conditioning improves with exercise. For this reason, David and Daniel both intentionally prayed three times per day.
Spiritual Dependence – Jn 15:5 – Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing.” The more you realize that you can truly do nothing without the Lord, the more dependent upon him you are going to become. When Asa encountered the attack from the Ethiopians, he prayed to the Lord knowing that they could not defeat this enemy without God’s intervention [2 Chr 14:11]. However, over time, he lost his sense of dependence upon the Lord and became reliant upon the Syrians for help [2 Chr 16:7]. This really cost him. You must remain dependent upon the Lord for everything. The more you depend on him, the more you are going to take to him in prayer.
Spiritual Righteousness – Ezek 14:14 – Noah, Daniel and Job had excellent track records of righteousness and so, they were esteemed as men who could get ahold of God in prayer. In Jer 15:1, Moses and Samuel were two of the best intercessors Israel ever had. And they were righteous men. The more of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that becomes apparent to God in your life, the more he is going to be inclined to listen to your prayers. You must lift up “holy hands,” [1 Tim 2:8] to him. Keep your sins confessed and your life cleansed by his blood, and your fellowship and your prayer with him will be better [1 Jn 1:7-9].
Spiritual Maturity – 1 Cor 13:11 – when we are children, it is expected that we will be childish. However, though we are to have a child-like faith, we are not to have a child-like attitude in prayer [always asking about “Me”]. Notice how the disciples improved in prayer as they matured in their walk with the Lord. The disciples went from asking how to pray in Matt 6, to sleeping through the prayer meeting in Matt 26, to continuing in one accord in prayer and supplication in Acts 1, to seeing the place where they were praying shake in Acts 4:23-31. As you mature in prayer, you improve in prayer.
Spiritual Faith and Understanding – Mk 11:22-24 – it surprised the disciples to see that the fig tree Jesus had cursed was so soon withered away. He told them that, with faith, they could cast a mountain into the sea. When you begin to understand what God is doing and believe that he will answer your prayer to get his will done, you begin to understand how to pray more effectively. Joshua knew that his commission was to conquer the land of Canaan. However, after the initial defeat at Ai, he fell on his face before God and prayed to return to the wilderness. Later on, he understood what God was doing in Canaan. When he had seen some more victories, his faith was strengthened and he was able to pray and stop the sun and moon [Josh 10:12-14]. That was some powerful answer to prayer.
Conclusion: hopefully, we have been encouraged to improve our prayer lives. If you sense that your prayer life is weaker than it should be, consider from this sermon, what you should do to improve it. Do you need to improve your conditioning by praying more? Have you become less dependent upon the Lord? Is there sin in your life that has separated you from God? Or do you simply need to mature and strengthen your spiritual faith and understanding? Whatever will help your prayer life improve is what you should do.