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Prayer

How to Pray to God

By April 17, 2024May 24th, 2024No Comments

How to Pray To God

Prayer is Not Complicated

To understand how to pray, we must first know what prayer is. Prayer is simply communicating with God. You may have never heard of prayer defined this way. Or you may be uncomfortable with such a simple definition of prayer.

There are examples of simple prayers to God throughout scripture. One that I often pray is “Lord, help me!” (Matthew 15:25).

The truth is God wants us to talk to Him, and God wants to talk to us. It’s as simple as that! But where do we start? What do we say? How do we know if our prayers will be answered?

Jesus Teaches us How to Pray

One day, Jesus was praying, and His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1-2). When I first read this, I assumed the disciples did not know how to pray. However, it was Jewish tradition to pray various prayers throughout the day.

Jesus and the disciples would have recited the traditional prayers over and over since they were children, and Jesus also prayed the same prayers with the disciples on many occasions.

So why did they ask Jesus to teach them how to pray?

Let’s look at a couple of things surrounding the disciple’s request. The first thing was that Jesus had just finished praying when the disciples asked Him about prayer. The second thing was that they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, as “John taught his disciples.”

Based on this, we can assume the disciples heard or saw something different in the way John (also known as John the Baptist) and Jesus prayed.

What was the difference? Using a model prayer, known as The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told them, “When you pray, say, Our Father.”

Jesus taught the disciples and us that our prayers should always start with our relationship with God. Jesus showed us that prayer begins when we believe our heavenly Father loves and cares for us and wants to hear about our needs, joys, cares, fears, doubts, desires, and everything else that concerns us.

But I Don’t Know What to Say

Many people call me a prayer warrior, but I haven’t always felt confident in my prayers to God. I remember hearing people pray and thinking, “Wow, I wish I could pray like that. How do they know what to say to God?”

Like the disciples, I prayed as a child. My mom taught us The Lord’s Prayer when she felt we were old enough to memorize it. We also prayed before meals and said prayers before bed. Besides those prayers, I really didn’t know what to say unless I was in trouble, and then I’d cry, “Lord, help me” (and still do!).

One day, the Lord showed me how my conversations with people varied depending on who I was talking to. He used the example of talking with strangers, friends, and family to help me understand why I didn’t know what to say to Him.

This is the case for most people. We tend to be cordial but not as open when we first meet someone. After getting to know the person, we open up and share more. If that person moves from an acquaintance to a friend, we feel more comfortable sharing intimate things about ourselves. Of course, we’re even more vulnerable with family, whom we are closer to and have known all our lives.

Do you see something familiar? Relationship. Using the example of the various relationships assured me that prayer is a process that takes time. Instead of trying to pray like others, I needed to get acquainted with God and let my conversation with Him grow from there.

Remember what the Disciples Did

Ask.

When you’re learning how to pray, it may sound like, “Hey, God, it’s me, ______. I know you’re there and believe you’re my Father, but I’ve never really talked with you before, so I am trying it. I want to get to know you better and ask that you help me do just that. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

The Lord will meet you where you are and help you pray just like he helped the disciples and me. Before you know it, you’ll be talking to God about everything!

Note: Prayer is not always about us talking to God. Prayer is a two-way conversation that requires a speaker and a listener. We must always allow time for God to speak to us. As you grow in your relationship with God, you will become more aware of those times when God wants you to talk less and listen more in prayer.

I Prayed, but God Didn’t Answer

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” ~ F.B. Meyer

Some people say they do not pray because God never answers their prayers. I have even struggled with why God seems to answer some prayers and not others.

Over time, I’ve come to accept that God’s thoughts and ways are different from mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore, I may not always receive the answer I am praying for because, from God’s vantage point, what I need and when I need it may look totally different.

Does this mean God didn’t answer? No. It means God loves me so much that He will not give me something He knows isn’t good for me. Does it hurt when we pray, and God doesn’t answer how we think or when we want Him to? Yes.

But don’t get discouraged. We can trust that God has something better for us (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Remember, prayer isn’t complicated. Even when it seems God is not answering, keep praying!

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