Praying is a funny thing at first. You may feel like you are having a conversation with the air or talking to yourself when you begin. You may get nervous and have no idea what to say. Know that He will help you. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26 NIV) If you have never prayed in your life, welcome : ) If you’ve been praying for decades and you just feel lost, you’re in the right place, too. If you feel like you just don’t know how to pray, I feel you sister.
Here’s the thing: it takes two to tango. You are not alone when you pray. When you pray, you are entering into a conversation, not a one-sided monologue. Prayer is literally communion with God. Communion means sharing thoughts, emotions, feelings or something in common.
If you’ve never prayed before or your prayers have gotten stale over the years, talking to God can feel like an awkward first date. You don’t know what to say, but you really want to impress your date and get to know them. God is pretty much the best date ever. It may take time and lots more dates, but there is something to be said for simply spending time with someone. The more time you spend with them, whether you share many words or just a few, the closer you become just by being in each other’s presence. Give God a chance. Give Him your thoughts. Let the relationship grow over time. The very best things in life come with time. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8 NIV)
God is literally the only person you can tell everything to who will love you no matter what. When you tell Him your heart and your faults and your challenges, He will guide you in what to do next. His “answers” to you may not be as loud as trumpets and they may not come right away, but they will come. He hears our prayers that are aligned with His heart. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3 NIV)
Prayer changes things. I say this because I have seen it change everything in my life a thousand times over. Not by my own effort, but by His grace when I pray. When I pray, I let it all go so He can show me what to do. When I pray, sometimes His “answers” come in the form of good thoughts. He brings thoughts to my mind of comforting verses or people I should help or friends I should reach out to. When I pray, I don’t use “perfect” words, just truthful words. I don’t say what sounds good; I say what’s there. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18 NIV) When I pray, God helps me get out of my narrow focus on my own worries and He helps me see the bigger picture. When I pray, He gives me peace. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)
The Bible talks a lot about prayer. Meaningful prayer. Truthful prayer. Constant prayer: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:16-18 ESV) Prayer coupled with thanksgiving: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
For me, the hardest thing about praying is putting the train brakes of my life on and being STILL to pray. I am always so grateful when I do, though.
Note to self and everyone ever: Be still and know that He is God.
Be still today and talk to Him. Give Him all of your worries. Tell Him everything.
Be still today and listen.
Be still and just ask.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
Be still and know that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. When we listen to Him and follow Him and trust in Him, we will see Him blow our expectations completely. out. of. the. water.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-16 ESV)
Sometimes my own prayers are as simple as, “help me know what to say, Lord. Please help me do the right thing.” Sometimes my prayers are long conversations where I pour my heart out. Sometimes I just say, “thank you.” Sometimes I say my prayers out loud, sometimes I sing them, sometimes I write them (I love this little notebook from my friend Val and these prayer sheets we have in our kitchen), sometimes I get on my knees and sometimes I get so excited, I dance in the living room and just say, “thank you, Lord!”
Print above from my shop.
What have you learned through prayer or been challenged by in praying? What do you need prayer for that I can lift up for you? Will you all help me pray for any requests below, too? He is always listening. He can make the impossible possible!
P.S. We launched our magazine today : ) Read the whole story and see our new cover here!