HOW TO PRAY 101
I have noticed that Christians are terrified to pray. Don't believe me? Ask the questions, "Who wants to pray?" before sitting down to eat a meal. For some reason that scares the daylights out of people.
When I worked full time as a Kids Ministry Supervisor, I had first worked with 4th & 5th graders. I asked the question to a class:
Would someone like to pray for offering?
After sitting in silence for a second, I asked them why they didn't want to pray. I got answers like, "I don't know what to say," or "I don't know how to pray". Now, to seasoned Christ followers, I think we like to look at situations like this and laugh at such a rudimentary concept of prayer. But, I don't think it's commonly understood as some people may think.
If you are new in your faith or if you struggle with prayers in general, I'm going to give you a few tips on prayer.
Pray like this
The best way to learn how to pray is to read up on it. If you would turn with me to Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT).
9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
This is commonly known as, "The Lord's Prayer". The disciples literally asked the question, "How do we do this prayer thing", and Jesus responds with the words stated above.
Here's some things to note
Praise is the first thing that is stated. God doesn't need us to puff him up, but I believe that when we come in prayer first seeking his will for our lives (not our selfish ambitions) and center ourselves on his wonderfulness, we will inherit the prayers of God.
Present your requests comes next. God cares for you (1 Peter 4:6) and wants the best for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to know everything that is going on in your life. So, tell him. Talking about ourselves and our problems seems to be the easiest thing to do, so this shouldn't be hard.
Forgiveness is an important section here as well. Take this time during prayer to examine your heart. Is there someone you need to be forgiving right now? It says in the verses after that if you have not forgiven the sins of others, God isn't going to forgive your sins. Do as God does -- Monkey see Monkey do -- and forgive others that have wronged you.
Talk like this
Please, enjoy this (low quality) clip I found on youtube of one of the funniest scenes about prayer.
If you are new to this whole Jesus thing -- you don't need to pray like the above video.
7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!"
You do not need all this "Christianese-verbiage" to have God hear you. It says in Psalm 148:18 that He is near to those who call upon him... in truth. God is God, he is the Almighty, but he is also our dearest friend. He wants us to come to him with our truest selves and heart, not the regurgitation of a dressed up prayer we heard. There is no "right" way to pray. It's you and God. You can't make an authentic relationship happen with a formula.
If you know me, you know that I don't always have the best of luck putting my thoughts into words. What I have learned over the years is to note how others pray. I have been able to connect words and articulate so much better the more that I listened to others pray.
Pray what you want to see happen. Pray bold prayers, because God does the impossible. The things we ask of him are not hard for him. If you want to see life change in someone -- pray it.
Pray often. In His Word it tell us to pray without ceasing (stopping). You can't expect to have a relationship with someone if you barely talk to them, or talk to them when you need something. Also, you will get better at praying if you do it often. You don't get perfect at soccer over night, it takes effort.
Prayer is such an important part of the relationship we get to have with God. I hope that these tips were encouraging to you and will help you grow in your prayer life. Let me know what tip you are going to try!