"If you want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they're answered? "
Here are four secrets to answered prayer from the life of Nehemiah:
1. Base your request on God's character. Pray like you know God will answer you: "I'm expecting you to answer this prayer because of who you are. You are a faithful God. You are a great God. You are a loving God. You are a wonderful God. You can handle this problem, God!"
2. Confess the sins of which you're aware. After Nehemiah bases his prayer on who God is, he confesses his sins. He says, "We've sinned." He says "I confess . . . myself . . . my father's house . . . we have acted wickedly . . . we have not obeyed." It wasn't Nehemiah's fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn't even born when it happened and he was most likely born in captivity. Yet, he's including himself in the national sins. He says, "I've been a part of the problem."
3. Claim the promises of God. Nehemiah prays to the Lord, saying, "I want you to remember what you told your servant Moses." Can you imagine saying "remember" to God? Nehemiah reminds God of a promise he made to the nation of Israel. In effect, he prays, "God, you warned through Moses that if we were unfaithful, we would lose the land of Israel. But you also promised that if we repent, you'd give it back to us."
Does God have to be reminded? No. Does he forget what he's promised? No. Then why do we do this? Because it helps us remember what God has promised.
4. Be very specific in what you ask for. If you want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they're answered?