I have always struggled with prayer. It’s not that I don’t want to pray. It’s that there are so many things to do. And only so much time in the day.
Plus, I have a really hard time being still. (Which is funny because since I am living with a chronic illness I seem to sit a lot!)
But I find even if I do try and sit still to pray, my mind keeps racing. Instead of praying, I end up going over to-do lists, planning out every part of my day, or winning arguments in my head. (I’m really quite good at this.)
But you can’t really have a relationship with someone you don’t spend any time with. And I don’t just WANT to grow in my relationship with God. I know I NEED to.
This is why I am committed to learning more about prayer and becoming a prayer warrior for Christ.
- How do I learn to pray?
- What do you say when you pray?
- Teach Me How to Pray the Word of God
- Teach Me How to Pray to God
- Learning How to Pray for Beginners
How do I learn to pray?
When I first really started following the Lord, because I am a perfectionist, I wanted to know how do you pray to God properly?
Because more than anything I wanted to get it right.
I wanted to know how to say the right words. In the right way. At the right times throughout the day.
But the more I have learned about prayer, the more I realize there isn’t a specific formula for it. Learning to pray involves just a couple simple things.
You just have to:
- Keep showing up. (Every day make time and space to pray.)
- And ask God to help you.
What do you say when you pray?
The biggest problem for me is that once I start praying, I’m not always sure what to say so my mind begins to wander.
And before you know it, I’m writing out my grocery list . . . instead of focusing on my prayer list.
And while I know God still loves me even when I get distracted while praying, by learning to focus on a few key parts of prayer, I have found I can stay on track more often.
What are the 5 parts of prayer?
By incorporating these five things into our prayers we can get the most out of our time with God.
- Cleanse your heart.
- Count your blessings.
- Carry the burdens of others to God.
- Come to the Lord with Your Needs.
- Create space for worship and praise.
1) Cleanse your heart.
We need to confess and repent. Because it’s hard to connect with God when we have sin hiding in our hearts.
This should be one of the first parts of our prayer time. To repent of any known sins while asking God to search our hearts to reveal any hidden sins we need to confess.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”-Psalm 51:10 ESV
2) Count your blessings.
We need to thank God for everything He has given us. Everything He has provided. Everything He has done. And everything He is doing in our lives.
This practice helps change our heart attitudes so we can focus on how good God has been to us. Which immediately puts us in a better mood.
“Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.”-Psalm 107:21 NLT
3) Carry the burdens of others to God.
Then we need to spend time telling God what other people need. This is the time to intercede for others and bring their prayer requests before the throne of God.
Prayer is one of the best gifts we could ever give another person because it seeks to bring about God’s will in their life.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”-Ephesians 6:18 NLT
4) Come to the Lord with Your Needs.
We need to tell God what we need from Him. To pour our hearts out to Him. To be completely honest with Him about all our fears, worries, and the things stressing us out.
And then we need to lay our burdens at His feet.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”-1 Peter 5:7 NLT
5) Create space for worship and praise.
Finally, we should end our prayer time in worship.
Praising God reminds us He is in control. He has a plan. And we can trust Him with everything we have prayed to Him about . . . because He loves us. He is with us. And He is for us.
Praising God gets our hearts and minds right. Plus, it’s a very positive way to start our day.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”-Psalm 107:1 NLT
Teach Me How to Pray the Word of God
“Lord, teach me how to pray Scripture . . .” is a prayer request God loves to answer.
By combining prayer and reading God’s Word, our prayers become a conversation. Since God’s Word is how God speaks to us. And prayer is how we respond to Him.
A great place to start is in the Psalms as many of them are written prayers. You can also use other prayers that are recorded in Scripture (such as the Apostle Paul’s many recorded prayers). Or any other passage that speaks to you.
To start using this prayer method do these three things:
- Pay attention to the context. Think about who it was written to. Why it was written. And what the original author might have meant by writing it.
- Personalize it. Pray through the passage from your own perspective.
- Listen. Don’t forget to pay attention to the Holy Spirit. Is God trying to tell you anything through these Bible verses?
Teach Me How to Pray to God
It helps to think of praying as a conversation. You can talk with God intimately because He knows everything about you. You can be completely honest with Him, because, quite frankly, He already knows every thought running through your head anyway.
He knows everything about you. The good. The bad. And the downright ugly.
And He still loves you.
Father, Teach Me How to Pray
When we pray to the Father, we are reminded we are God’s children. He is a good, good Father and He wants what is best for us. He is willing to teach us to pray so that we learn how to have a close relationship with Him.
Focusing on the Father when we pray helps us learn to trust Him. To obey Him. And to know that no matter how bad we mess up, we can always come running back home to Him.
Jesus, Teach Me How to Pray
When we pray to Jesus, we are reminded we are His beloved. And that He sacrificed everything to make a way for us to be with Him forever.
Focusing on Jesus when we pray helps us see our sin for what it is, confess and repent, and then live out of gratitude for the grace and mercy we have been given.
Holy Spirit, Teach Me How to Pray
When we pray to the Holy Spirit, we are reminded we are new creations. Because of what Jesus did on the cross the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us. He can guide us as we pray. He can prompt us to pray. And He can help us remember His Holy Words as we pray.
Focusing on the Holy Spirit reminds us we are not alone. And that we are praying to the God who is right here with us.
Learning How to Pray for Beginners
The truth is prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to do it a certain way. There are no rules to follow. No formulas to figure out. No specific prayer method you have to use.
It doesn’t matter if you have been a Christian for a long time or just a few days.
Anyone can pray.
You just have to show up for the conversation. Pour your heart out to God. Read the Bible. And listen to Him.
He will guide you on this journey of learning how to pray if you ask Him. Because while He is the God who created everything and holds the entire universe in His hands . . . He is also the God who looks forward to talking with you.
Which is downright amazing!
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