God longs to be asked for what he wants to give. And God’s riches for us is infinite. Therefore, we should pray with boldness, whether for others or for ourselves.

Image credit: detail from J. Hannan-Briggs, reused under CC license

Praying with boldness is not simply praying for extravagant things.

I could see a dead body and pray that it come back to life. I could equally pray for peace in the Middle East. But unless I have faith, not only that God can do what I ask, but also that he will, then my prayer is that of a hypocrite.

For that reason, bolting onto prayer coping mechanisms for when prayers might not be answered can be a very bad idea. Because if I pray, thinking “if it doesn’t work, then it will all be put to right when the Kingdom comes”, then I am not expecting an answer to my prayer.

For that reason too, I limit the content of my prayer to what I believe God will do, and try to push those boundaries, rather than the boundaries of what I pray for.

So how can we increase real boldness in prayer?

1. Pray with others. Chances are, other people in your group, will have boldness in some areas where you.
2. Wait on the Spirit to inspire your prayers, and trust that he will lead you well in prayer (how to increase your trust in the Spirit is another matter, though!)
3. Hear “success stories” of prayer. This has its converse, obviously, which is to tell people about your success stories. Careful, though, as keeping a prayer diary may soon turn in “checking whether God is answering my prayers” – which is a sneaky way of doubt to be instilled into your own prayer practice.
4. Offer to pray for others when you see something is up with them. I have found it easier to believe God will help others, rather than help “unworthy me” (though there is no truth in that belief, sometimes you can’t help feeling that way!)
5. Be ready for the consequences. Think what will happen when you pray for patience. Or for your heart to be opened up to be able to love more. Just in thinking about what your prayer will do, its reality will hit home and you will be more confident to pray (or realise you didn’t want what you were going to ask for).
6. Pray for more boldness.

Anything to add to the list?


the opening sentence is paraphrasing from Forsyth’s Soul of Prayer, quoted in another very good piece here.
you may also want to read my older post on prayer, which I’ll soon move to this blog along with the comments here.