on praying

I have had an unbelievable amount of conversations this past week that touched on prayer. 

From someone who was rejoicing in answered prayers, to someone who was going to start writing down dates of answered prayers in their prayer journal (which is an awesome idea, by the way!), to someone who felt God speaking to them through prayer, all the way to someone who believes in God but doesn’t think praying is for them.

Interestingly enough, the previous week I had been thinking about blogging about prayer.  So I guess with God’s nudging, now’s the time.

I know I’ve posted this before, but the following quote is the way I feel about prayer:

“I was reminded of the profound truth that prayer isn’t something I had to do, rather, prayer is something I get to do.  I get to bring to God every worry and concern that is on my heart today.” ~ Hope MacDonald

I didn’t always feel this way.  In fact, when I re-dedicated my life to Christ about 12 years ago, I really struggled with prayer.  I prayed, but it was more of an obligation, and it was a couple of minutes of me asking God for what I want.  I think I remember someone saying to me that they prayed for a half hour every day and I wondered if I could even pray enough to fill up 5 minutes!

But one of my early prayers at that time was for God to instill a desire in me to want to read his Word and spend time with Him every day.  And I can gladly say now that He has done that for me.  Most days I am interrupted by the “end” of my regular prayer time (a.k.a my kids) – while I feel I still have a lot more to talk to God about!

So why do I pray?  Considering the Bible says that God is omniscient and knows my prayer requests, why pray?

These are my reasons (in no particular order)…

  1. To order my day before the Lord.  To get myself in the right frame of mind – God’s perspective on things.  (2 Chronicles 27:6, “Jotham grew strong because he ordered his ways before the Lord.” NRSV)
  2. To hand over to Him my burdens – and let Him carry them for me. (Psalm 68:19, Phillipians 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7)
  3. To ask for help – right here and now. (Isaiah 30:19 “How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.”)
  4. To hear what His plan is for me. (Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”)
  5. To confess my sins.  (1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”)
  6. To thank Him and praise Him.  (Psalm 100)
  7. Because God tells me to.  (Philippians 4:6)

I’ve heard it said, often, that to know God we must spend time with Him.  As with any relationship, if you want to get to know the person, you must regularly spend time with him/her.  The same goes with God.

If you are new to praying or find staying on track during prayer, here are some tips for getting started.  It’s really as simple as talking to Him just like He was a friend sitting beside you on your couch.

For some more verses in scripture about prayer, go here.

I will also add a couple of new tips here –

  • This is something I’ve been trying lately and it’s really helped focus me on what God is doing in my life.  Rather than everyday thanking God for the same things over and over again, I’ve made a point of thanking Him for those things, but also trying to thank Him for three “new” things from the past day.  Did He answer a prayer?  Did He help the morning routine with my kids go smoothly?  Did he protect me from a car accident?  I thank Him for those things – things that otherwise I might have missed as blessings from Him.
  • If for one reason or another, my prayer time is interrupted or I don’t get an extended period of time to focus on prayer, I use the Lord’s prayer.  I say each line slowly, and if I have time, I then try to apply that to my life directly – the biggest item for each line in my day.

And lastly, I want to leave you with the following poem by Ralph S. Cushman…

The Secret

I met God in the morning

When the day was at its best,

And His presence came like sunrise

Like a glory within my breast.

All day long the presence lingered,

All day long He stayed with me;

And we sailed in perfect calmness

O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,

Other ships were sore distressed;

But the winds that seemed to drive them

Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,

With a keen remorese of mind,

When I too had loosed the moorings,

With His presence left behind,

So I think I know the secret

Learned from many a trouble way,

You must seek God in the morning

If you want Him through the day.

(From Spiritual Hilltops, A Pocket Prayer Book)

So what about you?  Are you devoted to prayer?  Why do YOU pray and how do you fit it into your day?

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