When we listen to God, we know what He wants and, when we know what He wants, our prayers become exceedingly powerful.
One of the ways that you can “pray in the Spirit” is to listen to the Spirit and pray from the riches of that intimate communion with God. Prayer is not a monologue – it’s a dialogue.
When my kids were little, they loved for me to read bedtime stories. Every night, after reading a few pages in the Chronicles of Narnia or Hank the Cowdog (I believed in diversifying our reading, lol), I’d stop and say, “Well, that’s all for tonight!” I always stopped at a cliff-hanger moment in the book—leaving the kids desperate to hear a little more.
It was a game. Though I told them we were done, I secretly wanted to read just a bit more and they knew it. They’d been with me night after night and they knew my heart in the matter. So, I’d ask the kids if they really, really wanted me to read more. Not only did I require their exuberant “yes,” but I also required a bunch of “please, please, please” cries. In fact, the silly game developed into a requirement of singing “please, please” to the tune of “Happy Birthday” or “The Star-Spangled Banner” or such.
They knew I was willing to read more – it was “in my will” – but I really liked to hear how much they wanted me to read.
It’s best to get into a conversation with God. Hear His heart. Listen to the Spirit. Deep communion and meditation with God is part of how we pray in His will. Your “please, please, please” cries aren’t powerful. What’s powerful is knowing the heart of God well enough to know that your petition is connecting with God’s delight to bless. God doesn’t “need” our persistent prayer in order to move on our behalf, but He loves hearing our petitions and has ordained them as the agency through which He changes your life and the world.
And that’s the Gospel!