If there is one thing I routinely underestimate about God, it’s His willingness to respond to heartfelt prayer.
I have no excuse. I’ve seen the impossible take place because of prayer. Babies have been born, marriages have been restored, divorce papers have been torn, and hearts have been softened — all because of the power of prayer.
You would think after all that I’ve seen God do I wouldn’t have any trouble maintaining a vibrant prayer life. But each time I stop to evaluate my walk with God, I always seem to regret I haven’t been praying as much as I would like to.
Prayer can be downright difficult, frustrating, and monotonous at times. So while I don’t know any magic formulas for building a perfect prayer life, I have picked up on two key ingredients that will make your prayer life better.
Expectancy equals faith, and that’s why it’s the first of the two ingredients. Without it you might as well write out your grocery list and read it aloud instead.
God wants us praying big prayers, but He doesn’t want us just lobbing them up as desperate Hail Mary passes. God wants us to expect Him to come through. God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine and He desires for our faith and level of expectancy to reflect that (Ephesians 3:20).
I’ll never forget a few years ago when I asked God to open my eyes to those less fortunate in the town I was living in. We didn’t really have a visible homeless population, but for some reason I was expectant that God would give me the opportunity to help someone. A few days later I found myself giving a ride to someone I had never met on a cold, rainy night.
Before it was all said and done, that ride would lead to me and some of my friends moving that person into a new apartment and a better living situation. Not only did God answer that prayer and meet me at the level of my expectations — He far exceeded them.
Consistency is something that happens naturally. It involves time, patience, and a lot of trust. In fact, when we consistently return to God to repeat our requests, we’re revealing that our trust is not just in God’s ability to answer prayer but in His ability to be the answer.
It’s also a principle that is repeatedly encouraged throughout scripture. Here are just a few examples:
“Rejoice always, pray continually…” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
“Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:2
God may not always answer your prayer like you want, but through the process of consistent prayer we not only open our situation to God, we open ourselves.
God desire to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, but we have to be willing to stick it out in order to see it take place.
Expectancy and consistency work hand in hand. In all the big prayers I’ve seen God answer, both of these ingredients have been present.
What do your prayers look like? Are they expectant? Are they consistent?
You can certainly pray without them, but like any recipe, the end result won’t be the same.