How to Pray

Below is my outline an notes that I took when I read R.A. Torrey’s book, How to Pray. The book was written about 100 years ago and is now in public domain. I have added my thoughts to the outline and will continue to do so.

5Ws, 1H for prayer.

What is prayer?
Who should pray? To whom should we pray?
Why pray?
When should you pray?
Where should you pray?
How do you pray?

Ch. 1 The Importance of Prayer

Why is prayer important?

“God has called us into a relationship with Himself. Relationships require communication. Prayer is communication between a holy God and a beloved you and me. Throughout God’s Word we’re taught the significance and role of prayer. “

Prayer can do anything that God can do.

1)   Because God commands us to pray. “Pray without ceasing”. That’s a command.

2)   Because God promises to answer our prayers. James 5:16b, NLT,  1 John 5:14-15; Jeremiah

3)   Prayer is how we resist the temptation of the Devil. (Matthew 26:41, NLT)

4)   Because there is a Devil, Satan.

5)   Because it’s God’s appointed way for obtaining things from him.
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22, NLT).
“Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened.”

6)   God gives wisdom and understanding through prayer.(James 1:5)

7)   Because intercession is what Jesus did while on earth and it’s his full time job now.

8)   Because that’s how we receive mercy and grace.

9)   Because that’s how we obtain fullness of joy.

10) Because prayer makes God real. (When you ask specific things and God answers, it proves to you that God is real. George Muller’s ministry is the prime example of this).

11) Because prayer is how we communicate with God.

12) Because that’s how we communion with God.

13) Because Prayer is how we get freedom from anxiety.

14) Because prayer is we get the Holy Spirit.

15) Because prayer is how we prepare for Christ’s return.

16) Prayer promotes our spiritual growth more than anything else except Bible Study.

17) Prayer is the source of power for our work. Much prayer is much power, no prayer is no power.

18)  Prayer is how we convert people to Christ. E.g. St. Augustine’s mother, Monica.

Ch. 2. Secrets of Effective Prayer
Acts 12:15
1)- Pray to God. How? Go into God’s presence. Have a definite and vivid consciousness that you are talking to God. Imagine it.

– Believe that he is listening to our prayers and is going to give us the things that we ask Him.

– You can’t do it without the Holy Spirit, so depend on him to lead us into the presence of God.

– Before you pray, make sure you are really in God’s presence.
– Focus your thoughts on God and be absorbed by his greatness than on what you are asking.

2)- Pray without Ceasing.

3) Prayer and Fasting

4) Unity in Prayer

Ch. 3. Obeying and Praying

1 John 3:22 qualifies Matt. 21:22 and Mark 11:24
1) Knowing and Doing God’s will.
Diligently find out God’s will—By being a student of His Word.
Then when you know his will –Do it quickly, cheerfully, and completely.
2) Pray in the truth.


Ch. 4. Praying in the Name of Jesus
1) Ask and receive in the Name of Jesus. (Grace, new things are added to your life)

2) Seek forgiveness in the name of Jesus. (Mercy, So that your debts are cancelled in Jesus’ name).

3) Knowing God’s will through his word

4) Knowing God’s will by his spirit.


Ch. 5. Praying in the Spirit

1)   Pray in the Spirit

2)   Pray with Faith

Ch. 6. Always Praying and Not Fainting

Ch. 7. Abiding in Christ

Ch. 8. Praying with Thanksgiving


Ch. 9. Hindrances to Prayer

1)   Selfish Prayers

2)   Sin Hinders Prayer

3)   Not Praying in the Name of Jesus

4)   Not giving God first place (Idol Worship).
– E.g. of idols
husband (Lori’s story disguised),
reputation, career
American dream,

5) Give in order to receive (selfishness)
6) An unforgiving spirit

7) Husband and wife relationship (and relationship with subordinates)
8) Lack of faith (Believe his word absolutely)

Ch. 10. When to pray

1)   Prayer in the morning

2)   Nights of prayer

3)   Prayer

4)   Prayer before and after a major event or crisis

5)   Never too busy

6)   Pray at all times


Ch.  11. Then Need for a General Revival.

Ch. 12. Prayer before and During Revivals.


Things to do when you don’t feel like praying. When you don’t feel like praying, you need to be inspired and motivated.

1)   Faith comes by hearing, hearing the word of God. Read or listen to scriptures on God’s promises to answer prayer.

2)   Meditate on God’s word about prayer and his promises to answer prayer. Meditation almost always lead to prayer.

3)   Testimonies: We overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony.

4)   Pray in the name of Jesus (the blood).

5)   Intentionally ask the Holy Spirit to help and rely on him to help.

6)   Learn or review on the benefits of prayer.



Things to do to enable you to pray more consistently.

1)   Schedule times

2)   Pray for your prayer times.

3)   Prepare for your prayer times.


How to pray

Specific, SMART
Expectant / Faith
Continual / Without Ceasing until we receive it.


Prayer is the one thing that the devil is scared of because prayer brings God into the picture and the devil is scared of God. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time? Matthew 8:29

Prayer makes the devil to quake and be afraid. He will kill a Christian if he could before he prayed.

Without prayer, the Christian can lose everything that he has worked for.

Without prayer, souls are not saved.

Without prayer, every progress that we have made spiritually can be reversed.

Without prayer, our anointing can be lost.

Nothing is guaranteed without prayer.

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