How Do You Pray?
How do you pray?
I was helping someone fill out a form today. The form listed prospective ways to get involved and we were discussing the aspects of each opportunity. While discussing one of the possibilities, she said “oh I can’t do that. I don’t pray very well.”
Prayer can be intimidating. Once upon a time, I too struggled with all the negative thoughts that I had about how I wasn’t able or even capable of praying. Depending on your background you might imagine grandiose well-articulated words that you don’t think you could ever think of let alone say. Maybe you imagine the fist pounding loud prayer that puts the fear of God in the listener. Either image can intimidate and cause you to believe you don’t know how to pray. Remember this. God is a Good, Good Father. There is no need to fear or feel intimidated.
Let me ask you this? Do you have trouble sitting over a cup of coffee with a friend and talking about what is going on in your life? When you are traveling in the car with someone do you talk about what you see and enjoy in the scenery as you go? When you go shopping with a friend do you talk and laugh together? When you have a meal with someone do you have trouble talking to them?
That is what prayer is! Talking. Discussing. Enjoying. Laughing. Crying. Envisioning. All the things you do with your closest friend. That is the key! Jesus is your very best friend. Your most bestest friend ever. Really. Talk to Him. Truths and secrets, joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams. Tell Him all about whatever is going on. The good, the bad and the ugly. He is ready and willing to hear it all. Then listen. Don’t forget to listen. You know that person who talks and talks and you can’t get a word in edgewise. Don’t be like that. Don’t forget to stop and listen.
Don’t forget that it’s not all about you either. Yes, you can and should tell God what you need, want and hope for yourself, but that’s not all you should do. What about others? Pray for those who are in your life. Your ‘sphere of influence’ is what I call it. Pray for someone who is injured? Ask God to heal them outright. On the spot. He can and does. Ask God to give them the strength to push hard enough to get through physical therapy, or stay strong to get through rehab, or remember to take their medicine on time. Whatever the need. Maybe your friend, your child or grandchild is struggling in school. Ask God to help them focus and thrive in their studies. Whatever the need. Pray and listen. Maybe you’ll feel the urging to pray for them in a specific area that you didn’t even know about. That’s the Holy Spirit’s urging. Listen and pray.
What about when you mess up? We ALL mess up sometimes. Simple. You ask for forgiveness. God knows you messed up already. Makes it easier doesn’t it? He already knows. He’s a Good Father. He loves you and will forgive you. What if you hurt someone else? Talk to God about it. He will forgive you and give you the right thing to do to rectify the situation. It might be easy. It might be hard. Either way it will be right.
What about when the words don’t come, when the feelings overwhelm you? Don’t worry. The Holy Spirit has your back. When you don’t know how to pray, Jesus prays for you. How cool is that? Amazing! That is our God! Amazing!
You should also tell God what good things you are grateful for. How about your home? Your family? What did someone do that was particularly exciting or laughable? Did you get something that you have been hoping and saving for? Thank Him. What about that beautiful sunrise or sunset? Tell Him all about how you enjoyed the majesty, all the colors, and the way the clouds rolled over the horizon. How about the other day when you didn’t remember where you put the printer cartridges (or something) and suddenly you saw it in your mind and there they were. “Wow! Thank you, God for revealing that to me.” Not hard at all.
Listening is important. Do you read your bible? There’s an app for that now. Easy peasy. Listen as you read or as your app reads to you. What is the Word revealing to you? Listen. When you’re out somewhere and suddenly you feel like you should talk to the person in line with you. Listen. Do you have something to say that they need to hear or maybe they have something to say that you need to hear. Listen. I remember one day seeing a woman across the parking lot at the grocery store. Her hair was strikingly beautiful. Bright white, thick and long. Simply beautiful. I felt this strong urging to go and tell her how beautiful her hair was. I mean this feeling was so strong. I felt kind of silly, but I ran over and told her how strikingly beautiful her hair was. Now imagine this. Some strange lady running up to you and telling you that your hair is beautiful. She turned and looked at me, thank me, touched her hair and then she started to cry. You see she had been receiving a medical treatment and her hair had turned white quite quickly. She was so unsure of herself and her image that her confidence was at an all-time low. God gave her just what she need by using me to lift her spirit and show her how beautiful she was to Him. Simple. Listen.
How do you pray? You talk. You listen. You do what God says.
Matthew 6: 8-13 MSG
8-13 “This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best—as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.