It’s really easy to throw around the word “prayer,” in a Christian culture, isn’t it?
If someone is going through a difficult time, we’ll say, “I’ll pray for you!”
If someone is struggling with making a decision, we’ll ask, “Have you prayed about it?”
If we really want something from God, we’ll tell people, “I’ve been praying about this for months, but I still haven’t seen God show up.”
I think that we have watered down the power of prayer, and the genuinely meaningful impact it can have in our lives and relationships, including our relationship with God.
Prayer isn’t meant to be a sympathetic condolence, a guilt trip, or a granted wish from a magic genie. It is a means of conversation!
Let me explain:
Picture your best friend in the whole world. Are you picturing them? Okay, cool. Now, think about how you got close to this person. Was it through brief and shallow conversations every couple of days? Was it through consistently asking and expecting them to do things for you? Was it through telling them how grateful you were they were in your life, but never actively showing it?
I’m going to guess probably not. And if so, wow, you have a pretty incredible friend! And, the truth is, God loves us even when we are being a “bad friend” to Him. That’s just the depth of His love for us. However…
If you want a dynamic, growing, life-changing relationship with Christ, you’ve GOTTA communicate with Him.
In fact, you can learn to deeply enjoy your conversations with God. In order for this to happen, it is important to keep in mind how to be a “good friend,” just like you have been to your best friend! Tell Jesus your deepest thoughts, desires, hurts, and joys. Go on coffee dates with Him. Ask Him for the things on your heart, but come from a place of gratitude. Never take His presence for granted.
All relationships are a two-way street, including your relationship with Jesus, and all healthy relationships rely on great communication.
But how wonderful that the Bible gives us a model of HOW to communicate with Jesus.. and that is through PRAYER!
The practice of prayer has recently been put on my heart, because I have realized just how important & powerful it is. I also realized how difficult it can be to determine exactly what prayer is.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the act of prayer rather than the purpose of it.
My next few posts are going to dive into prayer: what it is/isn’t, ideas to experience growth in your prayer life, and different methods to practice prayer! I am going to call the series Powerfully in Prayer, because I think that in order to live fearlessly in faith, we must learn how to be rooted powerfully in prayer!
Today, I am going to begin by laying the foundation of what the Bible has to say about prayer! So, without further ado… here ya go 🙂
#1 Pray Alone
(Matthew 6:6, Luke 5:16)
The Bible places emphasis on praying alone. Not only did Jesus pray alone several times throughout the Gospels, Matt 6:6 says to pray in private, because God sees all!
#2 Pray Together
(see James 5:16, Acts 1:14, Acts 12:12)
Praying with other believers is just as important as praying alone! When the early church was started in Acts, the apostles were mentioned to be praying together on multiple occasions. We are also encouraged to confess our sins & pray with one another… yay for vulnerability!
#3 Pray About Everything
(see Philippians 4:6)
You know the amazing thing about God? He already knows everything you’re thinking, but wants to hear it from YOU! Don’t hesitate to tell Him about your bad shift at work, crazy idea, awkward conversation, or that thing you’re super nervous about. Pray about everything!
#4 Actively Pray… and Never Stop
(see 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18)
Do you ever feel like something happens in your life and you are constantly praying… and then you just stop? The Bible says for us to “pray without ceasing” and to “pray at all times and on all occasions”… and not only that, but to stay persistent in your prayers!
#5 What You Pray For Through Faith Will Be Given to You
(see John 15:7, Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24)
This is a truth that the Bible reiterates time & time again. Those who abide in the Lord will receive what they believe. A prayer from a faithful, sincere heart goes a long way!
#6 Pray With an Alert Mind
(see Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2)
Prayer is not meant to to be a mindless activity. In fact, the Bible calls us to devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and to be alert in prayer! Practice alertness while praying, but also maintain alertness while you watch God move & work in the requests you’ve made known to Him! Remaining alert in prayer will give you an understanding of how active God is in your life and it is SO COOL!!
#7 Pray With Intentionality
(see Matthew 6:7)
Have you ever finished praying and realized you just said a bunch of fancy “prayer words” to try to sound a certain way? In Matt 6:7, Jesus says that when we pray, we should not “babble on and on” and that prayers are not answered by “repeating words again and again.” Instead, we should pray with intentionality! You wouldn’t give your best friend a surface level conversation, so don’t give God one either 🙂
#8 Pray With Persistence
(see Matthew 7:7, Ephesians 6:18)
God calls us to pray with persistence! He wants to give good gifts to those who pray persistently and rely on Him to provide. In fact, Matt 7:7 says: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you.
#9 Ask God Graciously, With a Thankful Heart
(see Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2)
It’s okay to ask God for things! In fact, like we just established, He wants us to. However, God calls us to also pray with a thankful heart. Before we start placing our requests at the feet of Jesus, let us first thank Him for ALL the blessings He has showered in our lives.
Also, a really great practice for establishing thankfulness in your prayer life is to remember all God has done. We become easily desensitized to and forgetful of answered prayers. Instead of praying persistently for something, watching God answer your prayer, and then forgetting about it, write it down! Write down your requests and the way that God answers them. You will be AMAZED at the magnitude to which God answers prayers.
Well, there it is… 9 truths that the Bible tells us about prayer!
I hope that these help you establish some focus and direction on prayer.
Stay tuned for the next post in the Powerfully in Prayer series! Hint: It might involve prayer journaling 😉