Not knowing how to pray is probably one of the biggest obstacles to people spending more time in prayer. Another reason is that too many people believe that there's no point in praying since there's no assurance that God even hears our prayers let alone answers prayers.
Last but not least, too may people believe they don't have any time to pray. With all of life's demands carving out chunks of our time each day we have become accustomed to taking life and it's challenges on our own without any assistance from our creator.
Before I get into what prayer actually is let me first clarify what it is not. In order to have a satisfying prayer life it's vital that we understand that prayer is not about trying to convince God to do something for us to make our lives easier or better. God has already laid the foundation for us to have a more satisfying life. He doesn't need to be convinced to do anymore.
Here's a list of what prayer is not. This is not an all-encompassing list but rather one that I've assembled that hopefully includes some of the more popular false perceptions:
Now that I've presented what I have learned about how to pray over the years regarding what prayer is not lets take a look at what prayer is according to a few champions of the christian faith:
Over the years I have come to learn that God has gone out of His way to keep the communications line open with each of us. He isn't hiding from us or making it hard for us to find Him when we most need Him. The easiest way to find God is by staying in constant communication with Him.
One thing I have learned for sure over the years regarding how to pray is this. If you remember anything from this article I want you to remember this, prayer is, in it's simplest form, spending time with God in a two-way conversation. You getting to know Him and He revealing more of His nature to you. You're not sharing anything with Him that He doesn't already know.
So why do you need to spend time in prayer if He already knows everything?
Simple. He loves you. He wants to spend time with you in the most intimate manner possible. He wants you to learn the importance and benefit of relying in Him as God; your father, redeemer, defender, advocate, wisdom, peace, hope, strength, refuge, provider. He is your everything.
If you take the time to read the four gospels in the New Testament you will notice that Jesus spent much time in prayer with the Father. He explained to them " I only do what I have seen the father do and I only say what I hear the father say". He was determined to have God the father live His life through Him. He even told His disciples "if you have seen me you have seen the father". He mentions this to them because His life was a revelation to them of what the father was like.
You have to agree that Jesus did live an extraordinary and victorious life. No aspect of His life could have taken place apart from constant prayer. Prayer enabled and empowered Jesus to live victoriously. Through times in prayer he received revelation from the father what his life activities were to consist of.
This daily communication was an example of making the most of a long distance relationship. In reality, Jesus was never far from His father. He often said, "I and the father are one". There is only one incident recorded that reveals a time where Jesus was separated from the father. While he was on the cross he uttered the words, "father, why have you forsaken me". At that moment the sins of the entire world were heaped upon Him and the father chose to turn his face away from his only begotten son because he had become sin so that we might be made into his righteousness.
Our heavenly father, as God and King, is to be treated with a reverence that we must learn and become accustomed to. Approaching a holy God is not to be taken lightly. The good news, however, is that the death and resurrection of Jesus has made it possible to come boldly into the presence of God.
What is known as The Lord's Prayer is not actually a prayer but rather a model of how to pray and what a time of prayer should consist of. It can be broken down into several segments so we can get a full understanding of God wants our prayer time to consist of so it is always a satisfying time for us.
These sections of the Lord's prayer address everything that relates to life here on earth. It shows that God is fully aware of what concerns us and wants us to daily speak with Him about our day. I see this as being very similar to when I come home and my wife wants to tell me about every minute of her day and she just wants me to listen.
Unlike most husbands, God always looks forward to hearing from you and about every aspect of your day.
He has all the time in the world.
You don't need to make an appointment.
No angel is going to barge in and interrupt your time with Him.
He is never too busy.
A prayer relationship is something you need to cultivate. It is a two way street. You get a chance to speak. Then he gets a chance to speak and you get to listen.
Yes, God actually will speak to you. It doesn't mean you're a wacko. God is speaking to us all the time. We just haven't cultivated the ability to hear His voice because there is so much other junk crowding out His voice. Learn to turn down the volume of life and listen to your creator.
It's all part of how to pray.
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