How to Pray
Over the years, church folks have asked me about how to pray. They are usually concerned with doing it the right way in order to respect God and receive His blessings. They hope that they are praying correctly and sometimes worry if their prayers are actually being heard. I often tell them not to be concerned because God knows what is in their hearts when they actually pray. God’s grace assures us that He does listen to His Son’s followers and welcomes their prayers.
However, for those who need some prayer coaching, the following points are a few basic ideas that anyone can practice in order to deepen their prayer life with God. I’ve used an acrostic of the word ‘PRAY’ to help explain the process.
P = Purpose.
Before we begin to pray, we should think about why we are doing this. What is the purpose behind our prayer? Is it thankfulness for God’s blessing? Are we seeking guidance about an issue? Do we have a confession to make? Or are we worried about a specific person or circumstance? If we understand why we need to say a prayer, we will be able to vocalize it better and describe it more fully to God. It’s not that God needs this clarification; it’s more for ourselves. Over the years, I have found that when I focus on what I’m about to pray, then I become more aware of what it is that is troubling or concerning me.
R = Recognition.
Recognize God’s authority over us. When we pray, we do so as creatures of the Most Powerful Being in existence. God’s Sovereignty is the most sacred power in the universe. A casual, carefree conversation may be good enough for our friends and acquaintances, but every time we pray, we are approaching the throne of God so we should make our prayers respectfully. To do this, we need to begin our prayers by referring to God as our Lord, Creator, Father, or Majesty.
A = Ask.
God loves us as His special creatures because we are made in His image. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we can approach God confidently in prayer. We should never be afraid to ask for God’s help, guidance, favor, or deliverance. God hears our prayers just like devoted parents lovingly listen to the questions their children ask. God knows what we need, but He likes to hear us ask because it honors His authority over our lives, as well as deepening our love for Him.
Y = Yearn. Yearn for the Spirit’s blessing and look for God’s answer to our prayers. The Holy Spirit will assure us that our prayers have been heard, so we should seek confirmation of what God has decided about our prayers. If we need forgiveness, we will experience relief. If we are looking for help, we will be given a solution. If we are seeking comfort, the Spirit will embrace us. And if we are thankfully blessing God, we will feel His delight in our hearts.
I hope that this simple process will help you with your prayers. May the Lord God bless all of your goals and dreams by allowing each of your plans to succeed.