Let me emphasize this before you read: Everyone can and probably should pray in their own way. The following post hopefully will serve others as bits to help them in their own prayer.
I once Googled “how to pray.”
I really wanted to know. As a kid, I learned to clasp my hands together and recite words that had been told to me. Later on, selfishly, I learned to use prayer as a wish list.
“God, please let me pass this test.”
“God, please let this girl like me.”
“God, please let me be healthy.”
God was Santa Claus. Never did I ask God to forgive me. Never did I ask God to help others, unless I knew someone who was sick – then I’d put it on the wish list.
So when I began to find a stronger faith within the last year, I started to think more and more about prayer. I was building a stronger foundation of faith, reading the Bible and trying to hold myself accountable to God’s word.
But how should I pray? Were there secret keywords I had to use? Did my hands have to be folded a certain way, quiet time in a dark room with my head tilted at just the right angle?
So, I did what I always do when I have a question: I went to Google.
I found some excellent advice. Through a collection of chance sources, I found some great ideas.
1. Just talk to God. Call Him whatever name lets you identify with Him. Talk out loud or speak in your mind – just relax. Treat him like a best friend, like a father, like a mentor.
2) Visualize your heart encased with a shield or protective covering. But before you begin to pray, picture that case or shield being opened to reveal your heart to God. Just visualize it in your head, what it would look like.
3) Every time doubt or skepticism or logic creeps in, just tell it to go away. Say, “there you are again” and move on from it.
Through those few tips, I began to develop my own method of prayer. Let me emphasize this again: Everyone can and should pray in their own way. The following will hopefully act as bits to help you in your own prayer.
God knows what’s in your heart. When you pray, you are just verbalizing what He already knows. But, He does want to hear it from you. Here’s some great advice that I heard a pastor once say: When you are praying, ask yourself: Is this something that Jesus would pray for?
First, I give praise to God. I thank Him for all that he has done, when times are good and when times are bad. This is how I start every prayer.
I pray for others. Sow seeds in your community, friends and family – and even strangers. Don’t feel like you need to go through a laundry list of prayer requests for people, but keep others in mind.
It doesn’t mean you can’t be a bit selfish and pray for yourself. But rather than praying for God to do this or do that, pray that God gives you direction and puts you on the path that He has planned for you. Ask that God help you in your daily activities and helps you speak to others.
This all comes back to the notion that we must give ourselves to God before we can have a true relationship with and for God. But it starts by simply telling God to take control of our lives – to give ourselves to Him completely. This is a topic I plan to dive into on this blog at a later time.
Prayers can come whenever you want and can last as long as you want. Prayers don’t need to be novels, either. They can come in 30 seconds, two minutes or be much longer. Pray in your car, pray in bed, pray in the shower – just talk to Him.
We should pray to have constant communication with God, not to treat it like a chore. As you pray consistently, you will find that He will guide your days. It’s not always easy to listen to God when He gives you direction. We always want to go our own way. But once we trust in Him, through prayer, life will make sense and be made more simple.
So just open up your heart, and ask Him to help you and to help others. Relax and talk to him like you would a friend, and know that it’s all about the special, unique connection between you and Him.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8