One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. 

When he finished,  one of his disciples said to him,  

“Lord, teach us to pray,

Luke 11:1

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Principles for Effective

 by Joy Dawson

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1.    Praise God for who He is.

God’s power is especially released through worshipful song. 

As they began to sing and praise, 

                     the Lord set ambushes against [the enemy],                  

and they were defeated.


II Chronicles 20:22

Praise God for the privilege of engaging in the same wonderful ministry as the Lord Jesus, as you cooperate with Him in prayer relating to the affairs of men.     

. . . He always lives to intercede for them. 

Hebrews 7:25b

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2.   Make sure your heart is clean before God by giving the Holy Spirit time to convict should you have any unconfessed sin.    

 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;”

        Psalm 66:18

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.     

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

We can also be encouraged by God’s promise that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us — just as we are.  As we seek His face, not His hand, worshipping and waiting on Him, He will do  His purifying work in us. Check carefully in relation to the sin of resentment to anyone, and  make sure you’ve forgiven  those who’ve wronged you.  Notice the link between forgiveness and  effective prayer in God’s  Word.  Both during Jesus’ instruction to His disciples on how to pray in what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer and immediately following it, Jesus emphasizes the need to release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.   

And when you stand praying,

if you hold anything against anyone,

forgive him,

so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. 

Mark 11:24-25 

Now notice the link between forgiveness and faith when we pray:    

. . .whatever you ask for in prayer,

believe that you have received it,

and it will be yours.

 Mark 11:24

So watch yourselves. 

If your brother sins,

rebuke him,


if he repents,

forgive him.  

If he sins against you     

seven times in a day,


seven times comes back to you and says, 

‘I repent,’ 

forgive him.  

The apostle said  to the Lord, 

‘Increase our faith!'”

Luke 17:3-5 

The disciples knew that to live this teaching would require an enlargement of faith, because forgiveness is not easy when one has been repeatedly wronged and hurt. Jesus’ answer assured them that increase faith for greater effectiveness in prayer was not only necessary, but also possible (verse 6).  Job had to forgive his friends for their wrong judging of him before he could pray effectively for them (Job 42:10).    

Faith [expresses] itself through love.  Galatians 5:6

Part of true love is forgiving those who have wronged us.

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3.  Acknowledge that you can not really pray effectively without the Holy Spirit’s enabling.    

The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  

We do not know what we ought to pray for. 

Romans 8:26b  

 Ask God to utterly control you by His Spirit, receive by faith that He does and thank Him.

    Be filled with the Spirit.   

Ephesians 5:18b 

It is only as the Holy Spirit is given access to pray through our cleansed, yielded, spirit-controlled lives that we will become and remain effective intercessors.   

Power in prayer is released through purity.  

It is entirely possible to experience the voice of the Holy Spirit in direction, and have little or no Spirit-charged energy to make the prayer effective.  On one occasion I had gone to prayer over someone who  was in great spiritual need.  I knew God had burdened my heart, and I was praying the right word 

But I felt as though they were not getting farther than the ceiling.  I stopped and inquired, “God, why isn’t there power behind these words?  They’re falling flat and not reaching your throne.  Is there a blockage due to undealt-with sin in my life?”  The conviction of sin came swiftly and with piercing clarity.  The Holy Spirit revealed that I had loved  speeding all my life and had indulged in it whenever I could — regardless of the fact that to do so I had  to break the law.  Many times I had confessed the sin of breaking the law in this way, but now the Holy Spirit was showing me that this was not repentance.  Repentance is being sorry enough about the sin to quit.  It is having a change of mind, heart, and life toward the sin.  It is having the fear of God toward that sin, which is to hate it (Proverbs 8:13).

I obviously loved the sin of driving too fast, that’s why I chose to do it all too frequently.  That day, I deeply repented to God and asked Him to put the fear of God upon me in relation to this aspect of breaking the law.  I received by faith that He would do just that.  He did.  Believe me, it was revolutionary.  I went back to pray for the needy person.  This time I felt divine energy behind my intercession.  Purity and power are synonymous with God.  

While writing this book, I came across a transcript of a message on intercession I had given many years before.  In it was the above illustration.  I knew when I read it that God was reminding me of this lesson.  Over the years, I had become less sensative than I should be about the speed limit.  Fresh repentance was the remedy.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord ?  

 Who may stand in his holy place?   

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,  

who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.      

He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.  

Psalm 24:3-5

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4.   Deal aggressively with the enemy.   

Come against him in the all-powerful name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God.    

Submit yourselves, then,  to God. 

Resist the devil, and  he will flee from you. 

James 4:7 

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5.   Die to your own imaginations, desires and burdens for what you feel you  should pray.  

 The need for this act of the will is clearly stated as follows:

  . . .lean not on your own understanding; 

Proverbs 3:5  

    He who trusts in himself is a fool, 

Proverbs 28:26a 


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,  

neither are your ways my ways,” 

declares the Lord . 

Isaiah 55:8

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6.   Praise God now in faith for the remarkable prayer time you’re going to have.

He’s a remarkable God and will do something consistent with His character.

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7.   Wait before God in silent expectancy, listening  for His direction.

But my people would not listen to me; 

Israel would not submit to me. 

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 

If my people would not listen to me, 

if Israel would follow my ways,  

Psalm 81:11-13 

 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him. 

Psalm 62:5 

But as for me,  

I will look to the Lord, 

I will wait for the God of my salvation; 

my God will hear me. 

Micah 7:7 

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8.     In obedience and faith, take action on what God brings to your mind, believing. 

My sheep recognize my voice; 

I know them, 


they follow me. 

John 10:27  

Keep asking God for direction, expecting Him to give it to you.  He will.  

The LORD says, 


“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  

I will counsel you and watch over you.  

Psalm 32:8

Make sure you don’t move on to the next subject until you’ve given God time to discharge all He wants to say to you regarding the present focus, especially when praying in a group.  It’s not necessary for everyone in the group to receive directional revelation.  But it is necessary for all to cooperate with those who do, providing the Holy Spirit witnesses in each heart that the directions are coming from Him.  Guard against any one person dominating the prayers.

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9.   If possible, have your Bible with you should God want to give you direction or confirmation through His Word.

    Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.  

Psalm 119:105 

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10.   When God ceases to bring things to our mind for which to pray,  finish by praising and thanking Him  for what He has done, reminding yourself that 

“. . . from Him and through Him  and to Him are all things.  

To Him be glory forever.   


Romans 11:36 

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                                                                                                                              Text taken from Chapter 7                                                                                                                     

                                                                                            Intercession, Thrilling and Fulfilling, By Joy Dawson                                                  

Published by YWAM Publishing,

PO Box 55787, Seattle, WA 98155 USA 

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