How Do I Pray?
It is 2:22 am and I am awakened to a song playing on my computer. It just randomly started playing. I am alone in my house so I looked around with one eye to see if anyone was there. I gathered up the nerve to turn on the light. Maybe it was a power surge that triggered my Amazon Prime music to start randomly playing. Or maybe I was getting a message and needed to pay attention. The song playing was “Teach Me How To Pray” by Jason Upton. I’ve attached the song so you can listen to the words. We have all been taught how to pray at some point in our lives. I grew up in a church where we memorized many prayers. As an adult I learned other ways to pray including the “name it and claim” type of prayer. I guess I also believed that if I asked for anything in Jesus’ name I would get it. Or if we sort of “gang up” on God, He would have to do what we want. When two or more pray together we for sure will get what we want. There are partial truths in all these ways. How good and patient and kind our heavenly Father is to put up with my childish ways. I imagine I sounded much like one of my children asking for the latest toy, in Jesus name. Not that I don’t believe that our Father doesn’t want us to prosper but is prayer all about asking and receiving what we want or think we need?
So I decided to take a step back and in prayer ask the Father to show me how I was to pray. Why am I praying to begin with came to mind? Prayer is our life line to God. It is our conversation with our Father. My best prayer time is in the early mornings where I sit outside on the patio with a cup of coffee, feed the birds, and talk to God. It is brief, simple prayers. Nothing elaborate or theological. Just “Good Morning, Father, it is a beautiful day. You do good work. Thank you for another day. Help me each hour to make it through the day.” I’ll bring up what is on my heart and ask him to help others that are in need. It is a simple conversation. I have also been caught singing ” His Eye is on the Sparrow.” When I take a walk in early evening I like to recap the day with Him. It may be that I have messed up and need forgiveness. I ask for wisdom. Those are my best prayer times. Lately, I have found myself in more of a negotiation type prayer time. If God does this then I will do that. Maybe that is why I was getting awakened in the early morning. God was saying, “Enough with the negotiations, Mary!” Then there are the times when I am too busy to pray. I have worked out a plan in my mind to get through whatever and take to it. In time I find that I once again wasted my time by not turning it over and seeking God’s help.
People have asked me if God talks to me. In most cases it is a sensing that comes or an answer to my conversation with Him that comes to mind. Only once I was woken by an audible voice. There are also times of “coincidence” when something happens that could only be God. One time when I was in the Executive Suite business, renting small offices to business people and providing admin services, I was struggling. I prayed that I did not know how I was going to make it and needed help. Within the hour, the elevator opened and a man came and leased two offices and his corporate office asked to prepay the rest of the year! He was going to shop around but felt like this was where he was supposed to be. I know God was in that and telling me “I’ve got you!”
So what does the Bible tell us about prayer. In Matthew 6:5-13 Jesus teaches the the model prayer. He tells His disciples to pray privately not in a showy way to bring attention to themselves.
New King James Version – Matthew 6:9-13 “In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hollowed 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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the
power and the glory forever.
There are many teachings on the Lord’s prayer. I think there is a simple message that I have been given to share. When we pray we need to remember we have given our lives to Christ and therefore it is not our will anymore but His. So when we come before God in prayer we can ask about that job transfer, or new car, or getting married or whatever, but the measure is if it is His will. There is a bigger kingdom plan that we are all a part of. We are not just here on earth to get the things in life that make us happy. So in prayer we ask for His will in all things. I know I have a business anointing and that God has a purpose for my business success. The business will prosper for His glory and His purposes.
A favorite teaching on prayer is by John McArthur, Grace to You. (www.gty.org) He brings more in depth teaching for us on prayer. The YouTube link is included.
Please feel free to comment below. I would like to know how you pray and your experiences.
“So how do I pray? Whatever glorifies Your name. Whatever advances Your name. Whatever extends Your kingdom. Whatever accomplishes Your will. That’s how I pray.” John McArthur