Have you ever had difficulty making a decision in your life? Maybe you have felt so alone and hopeless that you had no idea what to do? In times like these, prayer is the answer. Prayer is simply communication with God. When we face challenges that seem impossible to overcome, we should talk to God about it. God loves it when we spend time to speak with him. Thankfully we are not limited to only praying during a life-changing decision, because God desires to be with us day and night. Psalms 145:18 says, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." God wants to have a relationship with us, so he wants us to pray.
In order to hear from God, we need to be able to discern what his voice sounds like. Craig von Buseck suggests that it takes time and experience. God speaks to us through the Bible, and we can use this as a way to determine if what we heard was from God or not. Godly counsel and confirmation from the Holy Spirit are important in prayer. When God wants us to hear something, He will make it clear to us if we choose to listen to Him.
Prayer cannot be reduced to a magical formula or simple equation. God wants us to express our deepest thoughts with him. However there are examples of prayer that can point you in the right direction, like what Jesus preached in Matthew 6. Tenbasicssteps.org can guide you in your prayer life, as well as help you to become a mature Christian.
Psalm 1:2-3 promises that those who delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate on it day and night, will be "like a tree planted by streams of water". For a while this passage confused me, because I did not understand how to stay focused on God for so long. Jim Downing describes how to spend time with God all of the time. We simply need to put God first in our lives, and do everything for His glory.
In order to pray effectively, it is important to understand potential hindrances. Gotquestions.org listed some of these hindrances such as pride and doubt. When we put our own selfish desires ahead of what God wants us to do, it can hinder our relationship. Thankfully all of these prayer hindrances can be removed if we choose to submit them to God.
Keeping a track of the things that you have prayed for in a prayer journal is a great devotional tool for spending time with God. You can write down your needs and praise to God, then you can write down his response.
These are just a few guides to effective prayer. As you grow closer to God, you will be able to hear his voice more clearly and discern what he wants you to do. As Psalm 145 states, if we strive to call on God in truth, He will be near to us.