We have seen the importance of prayer, and that it is basically just talking with God, but how do you even start to pray? When Jesus was asked this very question by his disciples he replied:
He [Jesus] said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’” – Luke 11.2-4
The heart of prayer is just talking like you would talk to a friend in a personal conversation. My friend Pastor Alex has said that you can have a thriving prayer life by basically two phrases: thank you and sorry. We must not forget to be grateful for the abundance that God has blessed us with and we also must not forget how great our sin is that Jesus bore on the cross and ask for forgiveness from him as well.
The Bible also speaks to a few things that we must keep in mind as well when we pray. 1 John says that when we pray according to his will he hears us. This practically means that we should be praying things that align with what is found in the Bible and not praying for such things that are contrary to scripture, like the downfall of a person. Along the same lines, prayer also involves praying in Jesus’ name or by his authorization and in a manner that is consistent with his character.
The book of James also states that we should be asking and praying out of a sense of faith that God truly loves us and will grant us what we ask if it is in his will. There is also a sense that God hears the prayers of the righteous or Christians, but he is not obligated to listen to the prayers of those that are not believers or those that are harboring sin in their heart and not repenting of their sin to God.
A practical way that some of the pastors at the church that I work at pray is called ACTS; Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. For those of us with scattered brains, this might help with some structure in prayer. It begins with Adoring who God is and what he has done for us. It then moves to Confession of our sins or wrongs that we have done and then to Thanksgiving, or thanking God for all the good that he has done in our life. This model of prayer then ends with Supplication or requesting things from our good Father. This is just one model or way of trying to structure your prayer life and definitely not for everyone.
In the end, we must come to terms and realize that not every prayer that we pray will be answered how we want it to, and we need to be okay with that. God is good and has a much better plan than we do for our lives and we must trust him and that he is good and sovereign. This week, take some time and pray to God and just say “thank you” for all that he has done in your life and will do in the future.