By Warren Wiersbe
Read Psalm 17:1-15
Prayer is essential to the Christian life. God commands us to pray (Luke 11:2;18:1; I Thess. 5:17), and He uses people of prayer. What are the elements of an effective prayer life? First, we need God's ear--"hear me." David was praying for "a just cause"; he was concerned about God's will. But God won't hear us if we harbor deliberate sin in our lives, if we pray with "deceitful lips." He loves us too much to pamper us in our sins. To get God's ear, we must pray honestly, fervently and submissively. We must prepare our hearts for prayer.
Second, we need God's eye--"examine me." David could have killed Saul on two occasions, but by faith he left his vindication with the Lord. God knew David's heart. He probes our hearts when we pray. Often we are like Jacob; we pray and then meddle and scheme. We must not pray and then gossip. God's Word and prayer go together. If we live by the Word of God, it keeps us in the will of God.
Third, we need God's hand--"deliver me." The word save (vv. 7,13) means "deliver." Notice that David's response is one of submission, and God's response is one of service. King David asks the King of kings for help, and He responds to David's faith. His enemies think they have David, but God's power goes to work for him.
Finally, we need God's face--"satisfy me." If our praying doesn't make us more like our Lord, our praying is in vain (Josh. 24:15). God's goal is that we be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). But we don't have to wait for the resurrection; we can be changed daily through God's Word and through prayer.
The purpose of prayer is to accomplish the will of God, for us to become like Jesus.
God uses your prayers to accomplish His will, both in your life and in the lives of others. To be effective, your prayers need God's help. Make your prayer time an alignment to His Word and His will.