But we may struggle with the practicalities of prayer. The booklet ‘Does God Hear Prayer’ (refer link above) is well worth reading as it is an excellent resource which sets out the need for prayer, Biblical examples of prayer, when and where and how to pray. Although we can see the benefits and necessity of prayer, we may not feel confident about our own personal prayers. How do we ‘pray without ceasing? What do we pray about? Are we asking for too much? Do we forget to pray or feel we have nothing to say? Do we fall into repeating the same prayer? Do we really feel we are talking to God? How we we prevent our minds from wandering through prayer? The list goes on. Our commitment to prayer can always be improved. It may seem that many of our fellow Christians have a heartfelt and loving communication with God while we struggle with this.
Jesus taught his disciples what we call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. It has a firm structure which is an excellent basis for our own prayers if we are lacking confidence. As with everything, Jesus is our example, and he exercised daily, regular and constant prayer with his Father in Heaven and provides the ideal for us. If we persevere, it does become easier and more natural to pray.
It may be beneficial to jot down some specific things or events to include in our prayers, just a few as follows:
- Thanksgiving for blessings
- Acknowledging God’s glory and magnificence
- Telling Him of our praise and adoration
- Asking for forgiveness and confessing our sins, specific or general
- Asking for guidance generally or with particular problems
- Asking for help for those in need
- Asking for help to overcome fears and concerns and weakness
- Asking for help with preaching the Gospel
- Acknowledging and longing for the return of Christ
- Our dedication
- Our Christian family near and far
- Events in the world
Private prayer is personal and may cover so many things, as we are talking to a Father who loves us and He wants us to communicate and converse with Him in all things.
We can pray at any time or any where. We may set a specific time aside to pray. We may pray all through the day. Jesus suggested that we go to our room and close the door. A time for solitude and private communication with God where we can pray honestly. But it is also important to be in constant prayer with God; when we wake, when we eat, leaving or arriving at places, while reading His word.
Reading the Bible regularly is an excellent foundation to encourage us to read, absorb and use God’s word as a basis for our prayers. Bible passages and verses provide wonderful thought provokers and words of praise to include or structure into our prayers.
Ideally, prayer is to become part of our every day routine and delight. We can try to achieve this by many different means:
- Create habits for prayer
- Use every day events to remind us to pray, waking, eating etc
- Observe our environment with wonder and thanksgiving, sunrises and sunsets, flowers, star filled skies and other aspects of the natural creation
- Use the words of the scriptures, psalms and hymns to meditate upon and quote
- Read God’s words daily and concentrate on verses that focus our minds on spiritual things
- Set time aside for meaningful conversation with God
- Clear our minds to give God our undivided attention.
And listen for God’s answers. Perhaps this comes as a growing understanding, an inner voice, directing what He wants us to do, an answer via a Bible quote that comes to our attention, a word from a friend or stanger that may be a message, a particularly relevant Sunday Morning service or Bible Class or other Bible study, an event or situation that arises that stears us in a particular direction.
Prayer is such a wonderful blessing and privilege that God in His love for us has provided. We have the awe inspiring opportunity to converse with and be answered by the God of the Universe and our Father in Heaven. And by doing this, our relationship and love for God will grow and our lives will be enriched and our faith strengthened.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16