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Prayer is Not Just About the Words

Very often, new believers worry about the proper way to pray. I never looked at prayer as a structured and concrete form that had a wrong way or right way. I think that’s because I looked at prayer as a conversation with God. As a teenager, I started to talk to God about my life: my dreams and hopes, my desire to please Him and my need for guidance as well as protection over my life. I was aware at a young age, that my purpose on earth was to fulfill a mission for Him and all I wanted to do was to talk to Him daily so I could figure out what He wanted me to do for Him. I don’t think God’s intention for prayer was for us to be graded on our performance. I don’t believe he keeps track of the word count like the Microsoft Word program. I believe His desire is just simply to hear from us.


I have a son that lives in Portland, Oregon. That’s 2,821 miles from my home. I don’t hear from him every day or every week for that matter. As his parent, it grieves me that I don’t hear from him on a regular basis; I want to know how he is, what he’s doing, what activities he has planned, what his friends are like, how he’s doing financially, is he eating well, how’s his health and is he happy and safe. These are the same things that God our Father wants to know about you! He loves us and simple wants us to “call” Him.


I recall reading online about a story of a little girl that was learning to pray. Pastor Stephen Sheane, from Canada, incorporated it in his sermon:


A father was teaching his little daughter how to pray. He came in each night, and knelt beside her at her bed. The first few nights, he showed her how to pray by leading the prayer. After several nights, he felt she mastered the routine and left her alone so she could pray. One night he was curious as to how she was doing so he walked by his daughter’s bedroom door which was cracked just enough so that he could see that she was kneeling beside her bed in prayer. Interested to find out what subjects a child would bring before God, he paused and listened. He was puzzled though to hear her reciting the alphabet: "A, B, C, D, E, F, G …" She just kept repeating it. He didn’t want to interrupt her, but soon curiosity got the best of him and he broke into her prayer. "Honey," he asked, "what are you doing?" "I’m praying, Daddy," she replied. "Well, why are you praying the alphabet?" he asked. She explained, "I started my prayers, but I wasn’t sure what to pray; so, I decided to just say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however He thinks best."


Even the disciples who walked with Jesus, where not sure of how to pray to our Father. In Matthew, Chapter 6, they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John [the Baptist; Jesus’ cousin} taught his disciples.” (added emphasis is mine) While Jesus was with them, He spent more time teaching His disciplines how to pray to God rather than how to preach to men. Why?


God sees prayer as a conversation. A two-way mode of communication between Him and you. In our relationships, whether it’s with your spouse or a friend, the more you communicate with them and the more quality time invested with them, you get to know each other better. This is what God intends and desires for our relationship with Him. Remember, it’s a two-way conversation, therefore, you need to listen long enough so He can speak to you. I recall reading in an issue of Kenneth Copeland’s newsletter, that if all we do is bawl and complain and just ask for things, we no longer experience a “dialogue” and it becomes a “monologue”. He recalled a minister saying, “Here lies a fool who knows nothing doing all the talking to the One who knows everything.”


If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:7-8


The relationship created as we pray is how we get to know Him better. Jesus preached that if we know Him, then we know The Father. The passage above is saying that when we remain in Jesus, when we know what Jesus has spoken to us, then we understand His will. The more we pray by developing a two-way conversation, the easier it gets. The more we talk to Him, the more we know Him. You will begin to know what to pray for because you understand Him and you understand your purpose.

Another key to developing a more proficient prayer time, is to spend time reading His already established guidebook for your life, The Bible. If you start understanding what God has already told you in these magnificent Holy pages, you do not need to pray about things that are already revealed to you. For example, you don’t need to pray about how do I love my neighbor, whether I should tithe or is stealing things from others a bad behavior? You do not need to pray about things that He has already told you.

God has a plan for your life, and it is a perfect plan. One that is molded just for you! When we understand that plan and pray accordingly, things begin to make sense. God made you for a purpose, but God’s plan for your life depends on you playing your role. We can miss His will for our lives if we don’t spend time in the Bible or start developing a prayer (conversation) routine. Just like I eagerly wait for my son to call me to share what’s new…. He waits for “you” to share what’s on your mind.


For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13


At this point, you might be wondering, what did Jesus actually say to His disciples on how to pray. This was Jesus’ response:


“And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they thinkthey will be heard because of their many words. 8 So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9 “Pray, then, in this way:


‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

Matthew 6:7-13, AMP


To solidify further what Jesus told his apostles about prayer, the Old Testament also weighs in on what God expects from us during prayer. In 2 Chronicles, God instructs King Solomon, (after the completion of a temple that he dedicated to the Lord in reverence) to seek Him. In the passage below, God says we must humble ourselves and honor His ways:


if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV


Therefore, to summarize how we should pray:

1) First start by talking to Him; develop a personal intimate relationship (That’s what His Heart desires and that’s why He made us)

2) Humble yourself and surrender; acknowledge that He is Lord. The word ‘Hallowed’ in the Lord’s Prayer above means that He is ‘set apart’ and that there is no other God.

3) Worship and praise Him; God doesn’t just want us to present a long list of demands without us glorifying Him and thanking Him for the things He already has given us.

4) Seek repentance; admit your faults and ask for forgiveness. (please keep in mind, this does not have to occur each time you pray, God does not want you to live in a state of perpetual guilt; once you have asked for forgiveness in prior conversations with Him, you do not have to dwell on prior offenses when He already has forgiven you)

5) Let your prayer time be a time of intercession; a time to meditate where you DO NOT do all the talking; give God the “mic” and open your heart and spirit so you can hear His voice.

6) Petition for your desires and needs, as well as for others; keeping in mind that His will remains priority. He is all knowing and therefore sees things you do not see; trust that He knows best.


You might be also asking why God would want us to pray for “His will be done” as if He were not able to accomplish it Himself. God is more than able to do His will without our prayer or involvement. You might also be thinking, why pray, if He knows everything already? This just proves that He wants participation from us and He desires the relationship. He wants to hear from us regarding everything on our minds; conversation of prayer, expressions of the heart, and dedication of our actions.


If all else fails and you’re not sure what to say, bring a heart of expectancy, recite the alphabet and once you are finished, He will take it from there.


Through God’s Grace, Blessings, Love and Prayers,

Grace

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