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How to pray – a conversation with God

 

Have you been online scanning social media, and you see a post from a friend telling you of something that has happened, someone is sick, or they are going through something in their life, when you see those post, do you say, “I’ll keep you in my prayers”? 

When you tell someone you will keep them in your prayers, I would ask, do you? I know it’s something we say, and it sounds good, and maybe it makes the person feel better, but do we really pray for them?  I am definitely not saying that to be judgmental, I have done that myself. I had good intentions, but sometimes I just didn’t follow through. A question I should have started with, maybe a deeper one, is, do you pray? I don’t just mean at meals, Church, or when something is weighing on you. On a regular basis, do you have a consistent prayer relationship with God?

I heard my pastor, Chris Hodges, say he doesn’t think it’s that people don’t want to pray; more likely, it is that they don’t really know how to pray.

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PRAY?

IS THERE A RIGHT WAY TO PRAY?

CAN YOU DO IT WRONG?

The answers to these questions can keep some people from praying at all. Keep reading, and I’ll try to answer those questions for you. 

You don’t really need to know how to pray. Prayer isn’t something you have to learn. It really is just a conversation with God. He is omnipresent and knows everything, so it’s not as if we are telling Him something He doesn’t already know.  He wants us to talk with Him and let Him help us with what we are dealing with, just like we would call a friend. There are, however, prayer models. I will post more about those in the future, but a prayer model just gives you a guideline to pray.  There are several prayer models that I like. Models such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Tabernacle Prayer and the Prayer of Jabez. There isn’t a prayer model that is better or more accurate, it’s just whatever works best for you. I use different ones at different times, but I would have to say, the Tabernacle Prayer seems to be the one I use the most.  If you would like more information on prayer models, you can read “Pray First” by Chris Hodges, where He goes more in-depth into the topic of prayer and prayer models.

Is there a right way to pray? There really isn’t a right or wrong way to pray. You aren’t going to be graded, or God isn’t going to turn away and not listen because you are doing something wrong.  God just wants you to spend time with Him.  With that being said, God isn’t Santa Claus. I wouldn’t spend all my time with God just asking Him to do things for me or give things to me. Although God wants us to have our hearts’ desires, He doesn’t just dole out things without reason. He knows way more than we do and sees the entire plan for our lives. Although we think that would be the best thing for us or something we truly want, He knows what we need.  It makes me think of the song by Garth Brooks. If you were alive in the 90s, you should know the song “Unanswered Prayers.”  Has there been a time in your life when you looked back and thought, man, I am so glad God didn’t give me what I had asked for? I think about God as my father and I may ask for things that, to me, seem reasonable, but He knows it isn’t what I need. For example, let’s say you are 10 years old, and you go to your dad and ask for a car. Your dad might say, well, you really don’t need a car right now. You aren’t old enough to drive, if you tried to drive it now, you most likely will get hurt. Let’s think about that a little further in the future. For now, let’s get you a bike.  There are times when we need to grow or become more mature before God can give us what we want. I heard Priscilla Shirer say that after she prays, she says, “Lord, do this or something better”. I love that and use it myself. We need to pray for His will to be done and not ours. 

When you are praying, can you do it wrong? Again, God just wants you to spend time with Him. He isn’t going to fault you if you come to Him and just don’t know what to say or you just need to be in His presence. Sometimes I spend my prayer time just listening to praise and worship music. I just need to sit quietly and be there with Him.  There are also times I just sit quietly, maybe sometimes when I am driving, and just listen for Him to speak to me.  We don’t always have to be talking to God, sometimes we just need to listen.

You can learn more about praying, how to be more effective when you pray, and how to feel more connected with God while you are praying, but the most important thing is that you spend time with God. Spending time with God builds your relationship with Him. What if you only talked to your spouse once a week? Do you think you would have a solid relationship? If you come home from work every night and just walk around the house and acknowledge they are there but don’t really talk to them, how long would you stay in a relationship? I can guarantee that, at the least, you won’t have a close relationship. The same applies to our relationship with God. If we only spend time with Him on Sundays at church or only “call Him up” when something happens in our life, and we need Him, we don’t have a close relationship. We are acquaintances at best. 

I find the best way to get started or to grow in your prayer life is to set a time and place for prayer. It doesn’t have to be an hour or even 30 minutes. If you only have 5 minutes to spend, just prioritize spending those 5 minutes every day at that time. Then, add times throughout the day when you have a conversation with God. Maybe you are struggling with something or someone at work; ask Him to give you patience, creativity, bail money, I’m kidding.  If something goes great during your day, show gratitude by taking a minute and thanking Him for your blessings. When you lay down to sleep at night, thank Him for His presence during the day. First thing in the morning, thank Him for giving you a new day and ask that He be with you and provide you with guidance. On your morning commute, play praise and worship music instead of listening to the news and praying on the way to work. I can guarantee you will feel much better than if you had listened to the news. 

The most important thing is that you talk to God. He is there waiting on you like a grandmother waiting to hear from her grandkids, He just wants you to spend time with him.  I ask you just to start. I believe that once you start spending time with Him and feel His presence, it will quickly become something you can’t live without.

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