Keys to Personal Prayer


By Winfield BevinsA continuing series on prayer. Click here to view the rest of these reflections. 

Every believer can have a dynamic personal prayer life. The Bible gives us the keys that we need to develop a powerful prayer life. The Scriptures are full of examples of men and women who walked with God and used prayer to impact their world and you can do the same thing through prayer. The following are Scriptural ways that you can develop a deeper more fulfilling personal prayer life.


Pray In Jesus Name. Real prayer is Christological and focuses on the person and work of Jesus Christ. There are numerous New Testament references that talk about the importance of praying in the name of Jesus.  Jesus Himself said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23). When we pray in the name of Jesus, God the Father hears us. He responds to the prayer that is offered in the name of His Son Jesus because our relationship with God is through the Son.

Pray According to God’s Will. God is not a Santa Claus in the sky; He does not give us anything we ask for. But in 1 John 5:14 it says, “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” This means that when we pray in accordance with His will we can expect an answer. This is why the Lord’s Prayer says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Scriptural Prayer. One the best ways to pray is to pray according to the Scriptures.  John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My word abides in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” If God’s word is in us then His desires become our desires and we can have the assurance that He will answer our prayers. Make sure that your prayers are in line with Scripture. The Lord always honors His Word.  A great example is the Lord’s Prayer.

Keep Commandments. God honors those who honor His Commandments.  Jesus said, “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3:22).  If you keep His Commandments and do what is pleasing, then you can be assured that He will hear your prayers.

You Must Believe. The Lord wants us to have faith that He will hear our prayers. Jesus said, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22). In the great faith chapter of the Bible, we are told that, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). The Lord promises to respond to our prayer of faith.

Pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer. Paul tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit. Romans 8:26 reads, “Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” We don’t always know how to pray and we don’t always feel like praying. Therefore we need the Spirit’s power to help us pray.

Be Persistent. Don’t give up if you haven’t received an answer to your prayers. Throughout the Bible there are stories of men and women who persevered in prayer. In Luke 18:1-8 there was a little old widow who did not lose heart. James tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Humble Yourself. Lastly, we are to humble ourselves in prayer. James 4:10 tells us to humble ourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt us. One of my favorite parables about prayer is in Luke 18:9-14, where the Pharisee and tax collector come before God. The Pharisee was proud and boastful, while the tax collector was humble and asked for God’s mercy. We are told that God hears the prayer of the humble. If we humble ourselves in the sight of God he will lift us up.


Dr. Winfield Bevins is founding rector of 
Church of the Outer Banks and Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the Carolinas. He is the author of several books, including Our Common Prayer and Creed

Published on

August 28, 2014


Winfield Bevins

Winfield Bevins is the author of Simply Anglican and numerous other books and the Director of CREO Arts. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and daughters.

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