If you’re not satisfied with the results you’re getting from your prayers, there’s a word in the Bible that can help you: receive. That one simple word can make your prayers more effective. It can take you from wanting and wishing to knowing—absolutely—that you have the answer to your prayers.
That is how God intends for you to pray. He never meant for His children to spend hours talking to Him about everything in the world and then walk away with nothing to show for it. No, God’s will is for you to “…come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive…” (Hebrews 4:16). He wants you to follow the instructions Jesus gave in Mark 11:24: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (KJV).
Look at the word “receive.” In the original Greek, it’s defined as “to take.” So it’s actually scriptural to say, “Whatever you desire when you pray, believe that you take it, and you shall have it.”
The word take puts prayer in a whole new light! It tells us that if you want to get what you pray for, you can’t just say, “Lord, I want this and I want that.” You can’t just hope and pray that God is generally good and He will bless you somehow. You have to reach out by faith, take hold of the thing you’re believing to receive, possess it and make it your own.
So following what Jesus said in Mark 11, here are four steps to getting your prayers answered.
Step 1 to Getting Your Prayers Answered: Have Faith
Everything Jesus purchased for you through His life, death and resurrection—victory over sin, joy, peace, healing or financial abundance—develops in your life by faith. Mark 11:22-23 demonstrates that you must have faith in order receive answers to your prayers. We must have faith in both His ability and His willingness to give us what we ask. To learn more about faith that pleases God, read this article, "How Do I Receive Faith".
Step 2 to Getting Your Prayers Answered: Speak Faith
Once you’ve established your faith on God and His Word, you’re ready to put your faith into action by speaking. You’re ready to say what you want to come to pass. Jesus told us to speak words of faith over the natural situations in our lives. Remember the fig tree in Mark 11; Jesus spoke to it and it died. In the same way, when you ask God for something, you take it, believing that you have it from the moment you ask.
Step 3 to Getting Your Prayers Answered: Refuse Doubt
Once you’ve begun to speak words of faith based on God’s Word, refuse to take the devil’s doubts. Refuse to believe and receive his lies. Think again about what Jesus said and you’ll see why that’s so important. He told us that “whosoever shall say...and shall not doubt in his heart...shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23, KJV). Doubting is dangerous! If the devil can put doubt in your heart, it will soon be in your mouth, and he can steal the blessings of God.
Step 4 to Getting Your Prayers Answered: Start Forgiving
According to Jesus, there’s one more thing we must do before your prayer of receiving is complete. “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25).
As an obedient believer who wants to receive from God, you can’t afford to hold anything against anyone. The reason is simple: Faith doesn’t work in an unforgiving heart, so if you won’t forgive, you can’t believe and receive.
Instead of hoping and praying, you can start praying and taking (receiving). And that’s not only rewarding…it’s a whole lot of fun!