Prayer is an alien concept to many, it is the unthinkable to speak openly to someone you cannot see. A person who does not believe in anything or is not sure what to believe in will probably laugh nervously or look uncomfortable if you recommend prayer to them. The very thought of it will result in them feeling awkward, silly and confused.
So, what is prayer and how should we pray? Prayer put simply is the way in which we communicate with God by speaking to Him, praising Him and listening to Him when He speaks to us. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone without ever speaking or communicating with them and ignoring them when they tried to communicate with you? How did that work out for you? No doubt, it caused problems and unhappiness leading to eventual breakdown and separation from that person. All parties are wounded and scarred from the experience and some are no longer able to trust anyone again, that’s the usual pattern. Communication is vastly under-rated but so completely necessary, an unquestionable deal breaker in relationships.
It is the same with our relationship with God, we cannot have an effective relationship with Him if we do not communicate with Him and we do this through prayer. The way we pray is different for everyone as we are all unique and express ourselves in different ways. Some people are very vocal, can pray loudly and for hours, while others prefer to pray silently or in their hearts. Some Christians are very good at setting specific times to pray and some will pray throughout the day whenever they want to talk to God. The way you pray and your prayer life will develop as you spend time with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to teach you.
As Christians, we should be imitators of Christ, aspire to be like Him in all His ways, so a good starting point for your prayer life is to look at how He prayed. The following scriptures give us an insight into Jesus’ prayer life:
Always start simple. When you get up in the morning the first thing you say to someone is good morning; so why not start with “good morning Holy Spirit,” “Good morning Lord Jesus,” Good morning my Father in Heaven,” take baby steps. You’ve woken up, many went to sleep and didn’t wake up, so thanks would be a natural progression, “thank you for waking me this morning.” You have a busy day ahead or you are not sure what you will be doing for the day, so share that with Him. “Lord I have a difficult day ahead, please help me through it,” and anything else you want to discuss with the Lord when you wake up. This is simply fellowship with God, having a conversation with Him, acknowledging His presence, giving Him thanks.
Once you start, the Holy Spirit will work with you to continue in prayer and it will become easier and more natural to pray. When you pray, you should pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. You must never pray to angels, saints, objects, anyone or anything. Only God can answer your prayers so praying to anyone else is a waste of your precious time, you won’t get an answer from God. You don’t have to close your eyes when praying, we do this to shut out the distractions and concentrate on our prayer. Learn to pray with your eyes opened or closed so you are ready for all eventualities. You can pray, in your mind or out loud, there are times when you will do both. Closing your eyes, bowing your head, clasping your hands, kneeling are all marks of humility and respect and can be done when you are at home in private. This has evolved through the ages but there are no scriptures requesting that the Christian must do these things when praying. Praying is from the heart, it is the condition of the heart that the Lord will respond to not regimental practices.
When you start talking to the Lord and ask Him to help you to develop your prayer life, you are already praying.