How to Pray confidently

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.

Prayer is not about trying to convince God to do something for us...

how do i pray

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:

  • how to pray it is not about overcoming God's reluctance
  • how to pray it is not a spare wheel that you pull out when in trouble
  • how to pray it is not about influencing God
  • how to pray it is not a last resort when all else fails
  • how to pray it is not an extra option 

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:

  • "the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays" - Soren Kierkegaard
  • "the real end of prayer is not so much to get this or that single desire granted, as to put human life into full and joyful conformity with the will of God" - Charles Bent
  • "prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him." - Ellen G. White
  • "prayer is not conquering God's reluctance, but taking hold of God's willingness" - Phillips Brooks

Making the Most of what appears to be a long distance relationship

god answers prayers

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.

Jesus gave us a blueprint of how to pray

the lords prayer

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.

This ability to come boldly into the presence of a holy God was made possible at an extremely high cost. If you have no idea how painful it was for Jesus to go through what he did then you need to get a copy of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (Widescreen Edition) and watch carefully the scene where he is arrested and beaten by the Roman soldiers. I doubt any of us could live through what He did.

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.

  • "Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy" - first and foremost we acknowledge Him for who He is and that he is indeed holy and we respect Him 
  • "May your kingdom come soon" - we acknowledge that he is king over all and that our desire is for His kingdom 
  • "May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" - His agenda advanced here on earth is what we support because it is far better than our agenda or the agenda of any world government; not communism, socialism, dictatorships, monarchies or even democracies; we willingly submit to His benevolent authority
  • "Give us today the food we need" - we come to Him by faith trusting that all our needs can be provided for much the same way our children trust in us to provide for their basic needs
  • "And forgive us our sins" - we acknowledge that we are not perfect and have need for his grace and mercy and believe that when we confess our sins he will forgive us and keep us in the intimate relationship with Him that we have need of
  • "As we have forgiven those who have sinned against us" - we show that we will reflect His nature to our brethren by forgiving them just as He freely forgives us so that we can have unbroken fellowship with them (by the way this prevents our prayers from going unanswered)
  • "And don't let us yield to temptation" - he is all powerful and cares for our well-being and makes a way for us to avoid being overwhelmed by temptations when we feel overwhelmed, we trust in His ability to do this for us because he Loves us
  • "But rescue us from the evil one" - we acknowledge that there  is an evil one who comes against us to steal, kill and destroy, that our father is all-powerful and is able to deliver us from the hands of our enemy

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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