What follows below is a truncated version of the protocol I learned from my pastor's teaching. It's testable empirically. Do it every day for a month, see what happens. For decades I've used it every day, often many times a day, often for but a minute or two; it's easy. To me prayer is a kind of running dialogue with God, 24/7; natural, talking to Someone with Whom you live, 24/7. Sometimes I'm in gross circumstances, and sometimes elegant: doesn't matter to God. What matters is the THOUGHT is behind the prayer. Even the words themselves, don't matter as much. But try to be precise in your words, because that attempt will help you Become Precise In Your Thinking. Christ paid for our sins with His Thinking (Hebrew of Isa53:11, no time to explain that passage now). So now you have a clue that thinking, especially in Prayer, which is a LEGAL VOTE, is pretty important...
It's not as though we Christians don't understand why prayer is needed: God won't coerce volition. This world is yet Satan's to rule, so God must be ASKED, to BE involved. In a word, Prayer Is A Legal Voting Weapon For God's Involvement. Never forget that. Doesn't mean you have to be stuffy like a lawyer; does mean you have to be smart about your weapon! With this weapon, you never ever need to crusade in this world. At the end of the page, you'll see a dramatic example, why...
Therefore, Prayer is an extremely powerful voting weapon, more powerful than any power the world can even imagine. The reason why 99% or more of prayer goes unanswered (except by demons trying to fake you out, their favorite ploy), is that people don't do their Bible homework and learn the protocol. There's a protocol for your car: it must have gasoline to run (power of the Spirit); it must have a key in the ignition (you're thinking, not mindless); it must be driven to a destination you monitor (again, Thinking, Careful). So also, with prayer. Bad people can drive cars. Good people can also. Bad people might be more competent drivers than good people, simply because they know how.
So, then: If You Know The Prayer Protocol, You Can Drive Properly. So, you can be the worst sinner on earth yet your prayer will be effective, but some 'holy' person's prayer will merely bounce off his vocal chords, as dead as he is, inside. So forget all that nonsense about needing to be "saintly", especially since "saint" is but a synonym for a believer, in the NT. (I really wish people would do their homework in God's Word!)
Think of Prayer as a way to TALK with God, to become more and more aware of Him. Because, this Incredibly-Intimate Relationship Christ Bought for us, is even higher and more intimate, than the most intimately-harmonious, of marriages. So, talk to Father like He's your.. um, father! Not some distant ogre. So forget all that folderol you see in churches, with the pious intoning. God 'hates' it. Christ never spoke to Father that way, and neither should you. Review the parable He told of the publican and the Pharisee. See also Zechariah 7.
You can afford to accept this Step #1 (really, all the data in this page) to get started; because once you see it works, then you won't need immediate further proof that it's true. As time passes, of course you'll want to know more about why it works and what Bible says about it, and you should learn. But here's the Catch-22: without doing it now, you can't get Filled, so you can't understand how and why it works. Hence the counsel: JUST DO IT. USE 1Jn1:9 like breathing. I've done it for years, I'm breathing it now, and the sophistication in these websites is ample proof of the Holy Spirit's Power to Enable Perception of Bible. At the end of the page, you'll see what power following this prayer protocol enables. (Saving the best for last, lol.)
This is one of those doctrines you really need to do, in order to understand it better. It's also the only one you can do when you know nothing. It's instinctive: if I wrong someone, I would admit it, so how much more, wouldn't one admit it to God? I remember using this doctrine toward God when I was a child, instinctively. Same, for my best friend. Neither of us remember being taught to do this, and we certainly didn't know it had all this significance. I didn't even know of the verse, until age 18. So you can skim-read the rest of this Step #1 if you are willing to 'just do it'. Read more carefully if you have so many doubts, you have trouble accepting the idea and need more info.
Here goes. NAMING A SIN is just that. Kinda like naming a color, and you really should think of it that way. Because, All Sin Was Judged Already On The Cross. That's why you get the Privilege of using 1Jn1:9. Eph1:7 and Col1:14 explain that His Payment then is the basis, via the Attic Greek "double-accusative", which means the privilege is a result of the Cross. David talks about it also in Ps32:5 and 66:18. So this protocol is as old as Gen3, when Adam and the woman admitted their sin. So your sin may be new to you, but it's old to God. He's not upset, only you are.
So, then: it never matters at all how you feel about it, just as it wouldn't matter in a courtroom. The verb "homologew" in Greek is a Legal Admission-Of-Culpability verb dating back to the 5th century BC. "Confess" in modern layman's English is misleading, because people load that verb with emotion. However, the legal English "confess" has zero connotation of feeling; same is true of this Greek verb. You did it, or you did not. So, admit it, or do not. The attendant circumstances, your 'repentance', matter not at all. No more than it should matter, in any trial. Is the defendant GUILTY? Yes, or no. That's all that matters, in law. Especially, God's Law Of Grace.
Because, like an atom bomb's power (atom bomb means an atom splits inside), sin splits against God, so its power derives from rejecting God, not from self's power; so sin is extremely powerful, way more powerful than human attempts at resistance. [Ask a science nerd you know about derivatives in physics or math.] Even Christ didn't use His Human or Divine Power to resist sin, but instead grew up via the Holy Spirit DEPOSITING truth in Him. So you must use 1Jn1:9 to BE Filled with the Spirit, to Pray, to get that Doctrine, so it's a Law Of Grace. Grace Now Rules, Because Christ Does, get it?
Above all, don't feel guilty. Guilt is a sin, so use 1Jn1:9 for it, too. You don't need to feel guilty: God knew billions of years ago you'd sin that sin, and Christ already paid for it. He's not shocked by sin; if He were, we'd never have been born! Religion feeds on guilt. That's your first big clue there's something satanic about all religion. So getting to the point where you don't feel guilty will take some practice, because religion is all around us, panting after us to feel guilty so we can pay the harlot her fare.
With lots of practice using 1Jn1:9 (I use it like breathing), the usage will become instinctive, quick (1-2 seconds), and guilt will take a holiday. Took me about two years before it became instinctive. Now, I sometimes catch myself "rebounding" (my pastor's term for the use of this verse), even in my dreams! You can think it or say it, depending on your preferences. (Suggest trying to say it, first, to get faster imprinting on your brain. After awhile, thinking it is maybe better, lest after it has become instinctive, you forgetfully blurt it out in front of others like I've done, lol.)
While praying, MONITOR your thoughts for sins. Name them while you pray, so you remain online with the Holy Spirit. A prayer prayed without the Filling of the Spirit will not be heard, no matter how right it may be (big topic in James 3). Hint I learned from my pastor: if I don't remember sinning or what kind, instead of ruminating about it the rest of my life, I just say, "I confess my arrogance". All sin is some type of arrogance, see. The attempt to be specific is helpful because your soul ASSOCIATES the recognition to your brain, so the next time the same sin tempts you, you will be a little less likely to approve it. With repetition, then, the temptation will have a harder time getting mindless approval, heh...
Finally, as a believer You Are Forever A Royal Priest To Father, so you don't do this naming to anyone but Father. Well, if you think you need to tell someone else to relieve their upset, do. Good manners always require an apology where necessary. Of course, it should go without saying, that if you bear a grudge against someone while praying, you're sinning, so the prayer won't be heard. Ergo that verse about husbands and wives not getting their prayers heard, because they are upset with each other. Ergo that model statement in the so-called "Lord's Prayer" about forgiving others as the prerequisite for what we know as 1Jn1:9.
Just because Father totally loves you since billions of years past and future, doesn't mean He sidesteps His Office as Chief Justice. Nor would you want Him to do that. So, don't be worried, intimidated.. or flip, like Herod was when he asked Christ to do a miracle to prove Himself, Messiah.
Satan (a title which means "Opposing Attorney", in English), is out to derail prayer for that reason. See, Satan doesn't want God's involvement, for then the world will get worse. So Satan might demand some bad request you make, be answered "yes", in which case you'd be very unhappy getting it. Or, so distracted by it, you screw up your spiritual life. In either case, you'd be more inclined to reject God permanently.
The way my pastor explains this component goes roughly as follows: Petition Answered (yes), Meaning Behind Petition Denied. So, if you asked for a million bucks, you'd get the money, but not the happiness you thought the money would buy you. Then, there's the reverse (Petition Denied, but Meaning Behind It, Granted). Then there's Petition Granted, and Meaning Behind Petition Granted. "Petition" is a legal word, and it's the Bible's meaning. "Request" isn't so clear, in the English. So take your 'requests' very seriously. Satan sure does.
Best requests to make, if you need help getting started: prayers like Paul's, in Eph1:15-end (that's an unending prayer, standing for whole period Church remains on earth). Requests to Understand Scripture Better. Requests to be reminded of 1Jn1:9 every time God knows you've sinned. Requests that you clearly present the Gospel (so, request that you Learn It Properly). 2Chron7:14, 1Tim2 have some other really important prayers for your home country here on earth.
BTW: don't be jealous the ax-murderer can get his prayer heard, too -- you betray hatred of God if you think that way. A murderer can only murder people. God is bigger than people, so any sin is first a sin against God; so hating God is a bigger sin than even murder, for your jealousy is in effect a demand God not be paid by whatever benefit He might get by answering the ax-murderer's prayer..so use 1Jn1:9 on the jealousy, and keep moving. [First rule of Justice is that God benefits. If God is not fair to Himself, He would not be God. So any prayer granted is first, Fair to God, or it cannot be granted. You don't have to know how the prayer is fair to God; and in fact, one reason you ask is that you don't have enough facts about the justice effects, so you petition -- get it?]
If you want a more specific way to pray, try this one: pray that what the Lord Himself wants your prayer be, be registered as your prayer, and you also vote for all of what He chooses it be. Unconditionally. Irrevocably. The Legal Action you are undertaking is called "incorporation by reference". It means, by mentioning the SOURCE, you incorporate all that source SAYS. So I often pray, "I hereby incorporate by reference as my prayer, all that My Lord says this prayer means." Takes but 30 seconds. Has the biggest meaning, an ultimate-Jabez. Easy to repeat whenever, wherever -- if the brain is on (not mindless). Again, because Prayer is a legal procedure to the Supreme Court of Heaven.
Results are phenomenal, but keep trying to understand the significance of that prayer throughout your day, when you have free time (i.e., when standing in line at the bank, waiting to be seated in a restaurant, on the toilet, whatever). Also, keep monitoring what happens in your life and outside you (i.e., in the world), for what happens tells you what The Lord wants. Which monitoring you only can do with 1Jn1:9 and cycling Bible you've learned...
This sweeping prayer doesn't negate small ones at all. You should also pray smaller ad hoc prayers, especially when people ask you to pray specific things, or when specific things are on your mind. In short, pray any prayer, all prayers, but have your brain on. Mindless chanting of set prayers is never acceptable: don't get into a 'rut'. Note the Lord's many warnings about mindless praying (i.e., "not..many words, like the Gentiles do" verse) in the Gospels. You aren't supposed to mindlessly vote, mindlessly make decisions.. how much more, should you not mindlessly use, The Greatest Voting Weapon In The Universe? Only properly-recorded votes count. All others have voter-caused 'chads', so get Thrown Out Of Court!
See, if you doubt God, your prayer is cancelled. God is always consistent: BELIEF is required. You only needed to believe once to get saved, because a birth occurred due to that belief, so you can't go backwards. Forwards, continuing belief becomes an ongoing requirement. So, you must believe 1Jn1:9, to name sins, right? You must believe the Doctrine your pastor teaches, to retain it and live on it, right? So also here. This issue about believing God can answer your prayer is important, so think its meaning over. Doubting whether He would want to say yes is not doubting, but respect. "Doubting" is when you believe something bad about God, like He doesn't exist, can't be trusted, only wants people to suffer, doesn't care, etc.
As a believer learns God, his interest shifts to God, and he doesn't need the 'training wheels' of physical need, to motivate interest. But by then, suffering has a different purpose: "fellowship of sufferings", Paul's motive. When you're spiritually mature, you want to suffer, because all else in life is too low a satisfaction of your need to express love for God. So, there is always a beautiful purpose for suffering. No matter how senseless or cruel it looks down here on the ground.
Of course, any request you make which violates Truth will be answered "no"; after awhile if you've been breathing 1Jn1:9 you will know in advance what to ask and not ask. But practice, anyway, don't be afraid to make mistakes; you can't learn to pray without making mistakes. Ask anything and everything, so you get that practice, analysing for correctness as you do it.
Wanna see what God can do with prayer votes properly registered? Check this out... Since my pastor repetitively taught us all this correct protocol for prayer, I knew it like breathing. So in 1984, while still a pretty stupid believer, I suddenly decided to pray about 10 minutes a day for the downfall of Russia; I wanted those folks freed so they could get Scripture. Gorbachev had just come to power, and on my 9-inch black and white TV set, he looked dangerous, to me. [I had screwed around with the spiritual life my first ten years. In 1981 I got a bunch of Divine Discipline for the screwing around, so woke up and "got serious about doctrine"; 'moved to Houston, where Bible classes were held live 7 times per week (no repeats). Daily exegesis of Revelation was going on at that time. As to the prayer's content: I've always had a 'thing' about Russia. Dunno why.]
You gotta understand, by 1991 I didn't usually watch television, and especially, not the news. I had a business to run, and doctrine was more interesting, taking up most of my free time... Oh. I should mention that the hotel room was in the town where my pastor teaches, whereas by 1991 I lived 1000 miles away. Had to suddenly go there on business. Oh: and when I finally fell asleep, I overslept so long, I missed going to Bible class when I had the opportunity to go there in person. Hmmm. So if it wasn't for the need to travel there, I couldn't write about this event. And of course I got spanked for missing Bible class.
If I could go back in time to 1984 but with what Doctrine I know now, I wouldn't have prayed that prayer. It was too low! Why, oh why didn't I listen better in Bible class, with the result that I would have aimed higher? Okay, that problem is remedied now: I constantly ask for "Kol Dabar" -- Hebrew for "all His Word, Commands, Will" be done down here. The prayer varies in words, but always has the same meaning. I want what HE wants to rule down here and forever, period. And, it does. Again, if you don't understand the meaning of this kind of prayer, then pray something else. It matters that you understand what you pray well. Brain-on-prayer according to the protocol gets heard. Else, you're blowing hot air.