Have you seen those “life hack” lists floating around the interwebs? If you’re looking for a little entertainment reading, google “Life Hacks.” Then be prepared to laugh, be amazed, and learn a few tricks that ultimately help remove little frustrations in life.
In a recent message, I correlated how prayer is a bit like those life hacks. While the purpose of prayer is not aimed at making life easy, it does certainly help us rid our souls of burdens we need not carry. I believe all the issues and components of our life can be covered in prayer. I believe that prayer changes things and it changes us. Prayer is not a therapeutic thing, it is more of a communal conversation with God.
I know prayer can be a daunting thing for many people. I have had many conversations with people who don’t pray because they feel too guilty and unworthy. Others don’t pray because they don’t know what to pray. And still some people don’t pray because they feel their prayers are not as effective as other people, crippling their prayers because of comparision.
Can I make a suggestion in our approach to prayer – let’s stop measuring our prayer game based on the results but instead have the goal of communion with God. In other words, prayer’s aim is not to get the Divine to do our bidding it is rather to have a conversation that develops our relationship with God.
Yes, God answers our prayers and wants us to ask Him for what we need.
However, I don’t think answers prayers is the chief end of prayer. Prayer often is more about something being developed within us not something being done for us.
Here are some thoughts on how to pray.
1) When you pray, pray in faith. God wants us to approach Him like children who have access to their Father. We can come boldly and talk about anything.
2) When you pray, proclaim God’s Word. Perhaps it is a Psalm, a word of praise, a lament, or even a promise you’re declaring. Prayer is the place we ask God for what concerns us and His Word has the power to change things (and us). Praying God’s Word ensures you are praying His will.
3) When you pray, proclaim praise in your own words. Like a birthday card with handwritten words in it, our praise personalizes prayer. When we praise God in our own words we are expressing our heart to Him, which strengthens our relationship with Him. This is where prayer really becomes more than passing our agenda off to God and we start communing with God instead.
4) When you pray, pause to listen. God wants to speak to us and won’t speak over the noise in our lives. During your time of prayer, pause and ask God to share with you what is on His heart. Then be quiet and listen. Prayer is not a one-way performance but it is a two-way dialogue.
5) When you pray, persist without doubt. All through Scripture we are encouraged to persevere in prayer. God wants us to continue with steadiness, faith, and patience as we keep praying until we see our situation and our heart change.
God wants to hear from you. He is not interested in your performance, but He does longs to draw closer to you through the conversation. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy keep you from experiencing the intimacy that comes through prayer. There is no correlation between the length of your prayer and the effectiveness of your prayer.
If you never really pray, I want to encourage you to give it a go. God is a loving God, who takes delight in talking with His kids. As a father to three kids, I’ve never rebuked my kids when they were learning to talk. I took delight in it. You may be new to prayer, but rest assured, God delights in it just the same.