Here are three very important principles of prayer, so important that I think we could call them prayer directives from God. When we pray we must not miss any of these important points.
Pray according to a promise from scripture.
If you attach a promise from scripture to each of your requests, this will inspire great faith in your prayers. If you are a student of the Word you may be able to do this without much effort, because the Holy Spirit will bring to your mind verses that you have memorized. If you are a child in the faith there is nothing wrong with spending some time searching the scriptures to find a verse. In fact, the study time will do you good. Sometimes I have found that an especially long time at study brings the greatest rewards. And when you find that promise, it will be like a shining jewel, something you won’t forget.
Prayer must be definite, and for one thing at a time, so that our desire in prayer will be more focused. This is why I think it is good to make a list, with a promise attached to each request. Praying through a list helps us to focus our thoughts on one request at a time; and the attached verse (of promise) helps us to be clear in our mind what God’s will is, and certain that we are praying according to His will.
Now, there may be times, as you are praying, that you will lose your certainty about certain requests. You may begin to feel that God wants you to pray differently. This is really quite natural. It is the Holy Spirit working in you to perfect your prayers. Just keep working at it. Keep talking to God, asking Him to show you His will and to fill you with His Spirit. He may want you to search the scriptures so He can show you a verse to confirm His will. He may want you to experience something so that you can see His grace. Therefore, prayer is a process, and through this process we should be always working to make prayers more definite, more specific, and therefore more according to how the Spirit is leading us.
Pray with persistence.
If you have a need that you know God can fill, and you have a promise assuring you that He will give you what you desire, you ought to pray with persistence until you receive it. God sees our need and wants to meet our need. Moreover, He wants us to truly believe in Him and be totally dependent on Him.
This attitude of dependence, I thing is the heart of persistent prayer. Persistent prayer is a burning desire for God and for His will, a burning desire to let Him do what He wants with us and to use us to accomplish in us whatever He desires.
Therefore, when we pray over all the things on our list, we should have this attitude that is not only persistent at accomplishing His will, but is also persistent at giving up our own will—along with our self-righteousness, our self-ambition, our pride, our self-pleasure, and our greed.
Therefore, our prayer list is all about Him. Yes, we do pray for our own needs, but we do it in order that we will better be able to accomplish His will. And so, with that great thought, we persistently seek His face and knock on His door. We should not give up praying until He gives us the answers that He desires—answers that will contribute not only to our needs but to the work of His kingdom (Read Matt. 6:19-33; 7:7-11; and Ja. 4:1-4).