How does one prepare for praying?

Question: “How does one prepare for effective prayer?”

Bible Answers

God, the creator of the universe, is a Holy God that requires His children to enter His presence with respect, praise, worship, and a pure heart. We need to prepare ourselves before asking a favor of the creator of the universe.  

Steps for approaching God in prayer

These steps are essential for affective prayer, but many skip steps and then wonder why their prayers are not answered.

1.  Entering God’s Presence

If we desire to pray to God, we need to first enter His presence. How? Psalm 100:4 tells us. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Thanksgiving, praise, and worship prepares our hearts to humbly be in the presence of a Holy God and makes our faith more effective.

2.  Having a relationship with God   

We develop the strongest relationship with God when He and His Word are more important than anything else in our life and we spend time with Him with a pure heart.  It takes time to develop any relationship and it should not be postponed until the last minute. God created us to have a relationship with Him. Earnestly study to show yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).  

3.  Having a heart of faith

And without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). But why?  for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. When we do not believe God’s Word, we are in effect saying that God is lying.

How do we grow our faith?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).

4.  A pure heart

Our heart is pure when we are free of unrepented sin (which includes unforgiveness), and we do not have any other gods in our heart.  God cannot answer your prayers if your unrepented sins are blocking Him from hearing you. God does not hear sinners (John 9:31). Those who have repented of their sins and have forgiven those who have hurt them have a pure heart.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8). Click to learn why unforgiveness is so damaging)

5.  Knowing God’s will

The best way to know the Father’s will is to follow Jesus’ example and ask the Lord what His will is.  Jesus’ short prayers were always answered because He had a perfect relationship with the Father and knew exactly what the Father wanted of Him.  This is the real secret of prayer – to seek and follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit.  

The other way to know God’s will is to know what God’s Word says.  We “claim” His Word in the name of Jesus, building our confidence in His will and faith in the power and certainty of His Word, always asking the Lord to guide our prayers.

However, sometimes we may misinterpret God’s Word and have a false idea of what God’s will is.  Believing falsely, often because of our own misplaced desires, leads us down the wrong road.  This is why it is important to be empty of self-will and seek confirmation of His will in His Word.

… if you seek him, he will be found by you… (2 Chronicles 15:2).

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will … we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14–15).

6.  Making our Requests of God.                                    

Having spent time thanking, praising, worshipping, and seeking God’s will with a pure heart, we are ready to make our requests of God.  

Rather than rushing to God with your prayers, take time to quiet your mind and wait in God’s presence so you can feel His heart and pray the things the Holy Spirit shows you.

We then are ready to approach God with faith, praying fervently in the name of Jesus.

A few additional tips.


We prepare for prayer by entering His presences with praise and thanksgiving, with faith - confident that our heavenly Father hears us, loves us, and wants the best for us, and free of unconfessed sin and unforgiveness.

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