Prayer is Hard!
Prayer is a cornerstone of Christianity. The Bible says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 The NIV Bible actually mentions the word “Prayer” 375 times, “Worship” which is a form of prayer appears 176 times, and “Praise” which is another form of prayer that appears 364 times. That means The Bible talks about prayer, in all of its forms, a total of 915 times.
With prayer being so important, why is it so hard? At least that is what I hear from those around me and how I have felt in the past. I have received comments like “ I don’t know how to pray.”, “What do I pray for?”, and “What if I mess it up?” to name just a few. While there is no cookie-cutter prayer, the Bible does give instructions on how and when to pray.
God wants the prayer from your heart, not a show that you put on for others. In Matthew 6:5-6, It clearly states to pray in secret, 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should never pray in front of others, but rather to pray from your heart and as a heartfelt conversation between you and Him.
- Know Who You Are Talking To.
This may seem a little silly, but it is actually a very important step in your prayer. God can be seen as 3 distinct personas all-in-one, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. There will be times when you need to speak with your Father in Heaven, your comrade, Jesus Christ, or the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. Be clear on what you are saying and who you are saying it to.
Several years ago I had received the news that my mother had had an aneurysm in the middle of the night, she was in the hospital, and that I should come quickly. My prayers were addressed to God, to please watch over her, to watch over me as I sped there, and for the doctor’s to act with knowledge and precision. When I had arrived and discovered that she had already passed away, my Prayers shifted and I began addressing Christ. I needed a friend, someone who could help me out of the hole of anguish that was quickly devouring me.
Like me, in your life you will need different personas to lean on and help to guide you through life. This distinction will also help guide your prayer.
While God is always there for you during your troubling times it is important to let him know what you are thankful for. This is not for his benefit, but rather ours. Being thankful is an act of humility and helps us to remember all that He has done for us. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
Sometimes in a moment of crisis it can be hard to see what there is to be thankful for, but that is why it is so important. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). As I stated earlier my mother passed away when I was 22 years old and I was devastated. What could there possibly be to be thankful for? The one person, whom I loved more than anyone here on earth, was gone and seeing the light in that was difficult. But, let me tell you I had so much to be thankful for in that moment, I had 22 years with her of love, laughter and memories. Later I also discovered that her passing had also been a blessing, because I grew as a person and as a child of God with this one incident.
Consider also, as a parent, sister, brother, friend, employer we don’t need thanksgiving from others, but it is nice to know that the person(s) in our lives can value the good help, love and/or assistance we have provided.
Be clear and thoughtful when you ask God for something. What is it exactly that you need. Do not feel shame in asking for the little things. If you cannot ask for the little things with confidence, then how can you ask for the bigger things? “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
I used to have a little angel that my aunt had given to me, it sat on my visor in my car. Just looking at it reminded me to pray before even starting the car. I would pray for a safe trip, for wisdom, and safety.
Ending a prayer can be done in many different ways, but they all have something in common, calling in to being.
Whether you close with “in the name of Jesus”, or In all this we pray in your Holy name” follow with Amen. Amen literally means ‘so be it.’ By closing your prayer and uttering Amen, you are basically saying that you have faith in God and are releasing your burden(s) to Him.
God provided the instructions for how to pray in both Matthew and Luke
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)
So be thoughtful in your prayer and pray wholeheartedly in all things, whether it is small or large. God hears your prayers.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)