In the first part of this series, I began to encourage you in the area of prayer by asking you three specific questions. Are your prayers to daddy? Are your prayers constant? Are your prayers filled with confession? I hope each of these questions challenged you to grow deeper in your prayer life. Today, I continue to encourage you with four more questions to ponder.

4) Are your prayers filled with praise? (1 Chronicles 17:20-22; Isaiah 25:1; Romans 11:33-36)

In his model prayer, Christ included the words, “hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9b). When you come to God, do you come with a sense of awe and reverence?  And do you express that by telling God how amazing he is?

God commands his people to live lives full of praise, but for many of us, praising God is a burden. So often we only praise him when we feel like it. However, I remember something a friend told me once, after a worship service. It was during a time in his life when he was going through trials, but he said, “I really didn’t feel like praising God, but I have gotten past that point in my relationship with God where I only praise him when I feel like it, because God is worthy of my praise regardless of how I feel.”

Praise him with all that you have, regardless of whatever else is happening in your life. God’s glory is worth it. Don’t let your fleshly will or emotions dictate your praise; let God’s divine beauty inspire you!  And as you are praising him, watch the Spirit stir the affections of your heart, letting your desires and emotions follow your praise.

5) Are your prayers filled with thanksgiving? (Luke 10:21; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6)

We are commanded to live a life of gratitude, and this should be expressed as we talk to God in our prayers. Take time to sit and think about what the Lord has done for you and say, “Thank you, Lord. I value you and what you have done for me.” Thank him for everything, from the fact that he allows you to wake up in your right mind each day, to the fact that he has saved your soul. Sometimes we get so caught up with praying about our problems that we forget just how good God really has been to us. Thanking God refocuses us on his goodness. Do you believe that God has been good? If so, do you take the time to say “Thank you”?

6) Are your prayers filled with need? (Hebrews 5:7; Philippians 4:6)

Prayer is also an expression of our neediness. When we are aware that we desperately need God, we pray.  However, we often operate as if there are some moments when we don’t need his strength and other moments when we do, but God’s creatures are totally dependent upon their Creator for literally everything. Do you believe you are needy? Do you believe that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20a)? Often times, as it says in James, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2b).

7) Are you prayers filled with expectation? (John 14:12-14; 1 John 5:13-15)

While I can’t go into all of what it means for God to hear and answer our prayers, do you pray prayers that are submitted to God’s Lordship and his Scriptures? And as you pray these prayers, are you looking forward to how God will move? When God moves, too often we forget that we prayed for what happened! And too often we pray as a formality, forgetting that our prayers are powerful. God moves in response to the prayers of his people (James 5:15-18).

I believe that some of us have been let down so many times by people that we are scared we will be let down by God when we expect something from him. But do not let past let-downs give you a low view of God. God is a promise-keeper, and he has promised that he will grant you whatever you ask, according to his will and nature.