Praising God. Father God has done nothing but good to us. Therefore, he deserves to be praised each day, not only by our obedience but by our mouths. So the best way to begin our prayers is with praise, as Jesus directed in the book of Matthew: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name" (Matt. 6:9 KJV).
Confession, Repentance, Forgiveness. Confessing sin, repenting, and asking for forgiveness do not come naturally to the human race. However, if we want Father to honor our prayer requests, we will cease to walk in sin. Before we make personal requests of Father, we need to ask him, and those we've sinned against, to forgive us. We also need to keep a clear conscience. We do this by being obedient to God's instructions noted in the Bible by Jesus and his apostles. It is not wise to pick and choose what we want to follow, while omitting other Scripture. If we want Father to honor our requests, we should obey all of God's Word, even when we don't feel like it. (See Matt. 5:23-24; 6:12.)
Sincere and Humble Attitude. How many times have you given a flippant or hasty prayer instead of an earnest one? We've all done it. Then we get up from our knees doubting instead of believing, which does not please Father. According to James 5:16 our requests need to be fervent. Also, our hearts need to be right before God. This includes being forgiving and merciful, even toward our enemies. (See Matt. 6:3-6.)
Full Compliance. If you told your child to do something in order to get this or that and he didn't, would you still give him what he asked for? Most likely not. Father is the same way. Yes, there are times when we are blessed and our prayers are answered with a positive response even though we have failed to be obedient in certain areas. That's because God is love. And he knows we're not perfect. But that doesn't make it right for us to continue to disobey. God deserves our loyalty and our full compliance. "Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them" (Jn. 14:23 CEV).
Petition in Jesus' Name. "You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (Jn. 14:13-14)!
Belief. In order to receive what we ask for, we must believe and behave as if we have already received it. "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you" (Mk. 11:24 NASB). It's no fun to walk around filled with anxiety and doubt. Father wants us to be joyful and happy. Therefore, he tells us to believe before he gives us what we request-or even better, what is best for us.
Seeking God's Will. If we truly desire God's will, not ours, to be done, our prayer requests will line up with his good and perfect will. "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 Jn. 5:14-15 NIV). God's will is better than ours, and always best for us. And it is more than we can ask or imagine (See Eph. 3:20).
Giving Thanks. How many times has God healed you or answered your prayers and you forgot to give him thanks? We're all guilty of this. Many times we end our prayers without expressing appreciation to Father for answering it beforehand. I used to do this on a regular basis, because I didn't know any better. But we need to thank God in advance for answering our requests. "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:18 NIV). We should give thanks to Father before, during, and after our prayers have been answered and each time we pray. Before we begin our requests, we should thank Father for blessing us, listening to us, and answering our prayers.
Constant Request. Our prayers must be ongoing. "Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church" (Acts 12:5 NKJV). Constant prayer helped set Peter free. We too should be persistent in our requests to Father. (See also 1 Thess. 5:17). But, unlike the church mentioned in Acts 12, we should not be surprised when our prayers are answered.