5 Steps to Learn How to Pray

Recently I received an email from a seer who asked for advice so he would know how to pray. This seer saw something on a man in church, and he sought advice on what the thing was so he would know how best to pray.

This is exactly how a seer should use his or her gift!

In this case, he saw something in the spirit realm – it wasn’t a spirit. It was a black rod standing at an angle over his head. This spiritual revelation is meant to direct the seer to pray appropriately, but in this case, he didn’t know exactly what the thing was, so he didn’t know how he should pray.

Neither do I.

My advice was to approach the man and offer to pray right then, right there, not later at home. Even if you don’t know exactly how to pray or what you should pray, take a risk, and pray right then.

I recommend following the 5-step prayer model when praying for people. It’s pretty simple and is a model that can be adapted for nearly every situation when you want to pray for someone.

Here’s an introduction from my son, who was 5, when he learned about this at church.

Normally, I offer a 4 to 6 hour training seminar in this prayer model, but here’s a summary.

Step 1: Interview

Ask the person, “Can I pray for you right now?” or, “Is there anything I can pray for over you?”

Also, “What is wrong?” or “Where does it hurt?” or “What is going on in your life that needs prayer.”

This isn’t a media interview or a medical exam. You just want to know what the person thinks is wrong that God might want to fix right then.

The most important part of this is not what the person says, but what God says. While you are listening to the person, listen to the Holy Spirit. He may speak to you, providing direction to pray. When in doubt, trust the Holy Spirit, not the person and not yourself.

If you need guidance on how to listen to God, get my ebook, “Hearing God”, available in the store.

Step 2. Select Your Prayer

Depending on what the person or the Holy Spirit says, you’ll need to determine what to pray. Perhaps you’ll offer a prayer of command. For instance, if the issue is demonic, then you’ll want to issue a prayer of command, as in, “In the Name of Jesus, wicked spirit get out!”

Sometimes the issue is related to curses or backstabbing, in which case you’d pray a prayer of command, but be very specific in your prayer.

For instance: “We come against the curses and release the damage they have done in the name of Jesus.” Then invite the Holy Spirit to bring healing and cleansing.

If it’s a family or relationship issue, you may want to issue a prayer of intercession: “Heavenly Father, we bring this issue before you…”

If it’s a sickness, there are a couple of directions you could go. There’s the prayer of command, “Be healed in the Name of Jesus!” But sometimes sickness is related to other issues, like an issue of unforgiveness.

For instance, if it’s an issue of unforgiveness, then you’ll ask the person if they need to forgive someone. Walk with them as they do so. You might lead them in a “repeat after me” prayer. “Father, I ask you to help me to forgive this great injustice in my life…” and so on.  Be specific. Allow the Holy Spirit time to do what he wants to do.

Perhaps the issue is one of salvation. In this case, if the person is ready, have him or her confess Christ and submit his or her life to the Lord’s rule. It might be a repeat-after-me prayer. Something like this:

“I confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, died for my sins, and rose again. I make Jesus the Lord of my life and ask God to help me to submit all of my life, my thoughts, my desires, everything to Jesus. I confess that I am now in Christ and am a new creature. The old me is dead and I am born again. Father, please in the Name of Jesus, fill me with the Holy Spirit!”

Step 3: Pray.

Once you’ve made your selection, go ahead and pray! Don’t worry about King James English and no need to make a big scene.

When praying, remember a few things:

  1. Keep your eyes open. You want to see if God starts to do something.
  2. Invite the Holy Spirit to lead the prayer.
  3. Protect the person’s dignity.
  4. Your point is to extend God’s rule and reign over this situation.
  5. The center of God’s rule and reign is God’s love for that person. Have compassion.
  6. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct the prayer. God knows, after all, more than you do.
  7. If you feel like you should lay hands on the person, ask for permission first. Be extra respectful if you are laying hands on a person of the opposite sex.

Step 4: Stop Praying and Check on the Person

The point is to see if God is doing something. If the issue you are praying for is pain or an injury,  ask the person to test the issue, to see if God is healing.

Observe the person: is the Holy Spirit moving? Again, check out the Hearing God ebook in the store for more on this.

Ask, “How are you doing? Is the pain the same, worse, or better?” If God is doing something, go back to Step 3 and pray again. Ask God to continue working. If God isn’t doing something, evaluate if you want to try and pray again.

If God did something and you feel like the prayer time is over, move on to Step 5.

Step 5: Post Prayer Suggestions

This is not a counseling session, but you should offer some advice. Be careful you don’t inject too much of your opinion in this advice. If the person gave him heart to the Lord, then provide the next steps (e.g., get into a church or a discipleship relationship with someone).

Perhaps the person needs referral to a therapist or a doctor or to reconcile a relationship or just needs to process what happened.

Again, remember these important principles:

  1. Protect the person’s dignity
  2. Demonstrate God’s selfless and sacrificial love for the person
  3. Demonstrate God’s rule and reign (the Kingdom)
  4. Going through this model might only take a minute or it can take much longer

Final Thoughts

John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard and the scholar who developed this 5 Step Prayer Model often said that “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.” This prayer model has gone across the world in many denominations and has been taught in many seminars.

My own seminar can be done in 4 to 6 hours with hands-on practice.  Back in the 1980s, Wimber offered this 40 minute training, and I highly recommend it.

Take a risk. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong or praying the wrong way. Don’t second-guess the model until you have prayed at least 200 times for others.



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