Do you find it difficult to pray? If you do, please know you are not alone. Many people are challenged by the idea of talking to someone they cannot see, and others are completely overwhelmed and afraid to say the wrong thing. I love prayer, I believe strongly in the need for us to pray, but I have not always found prayer to be something I am naturally good at.
At one of our conferences in 2018, I heard a teaching on prayer by Rick Reed (President, Heritage College & Seminary). In this session, Rick helped me begin to once again wrestle with how to pray. He took us through the Lord’s Prayer in a way that helped to bring these familiar words to life.
Since that time, I have been coming back to the prayer Jesus used to teach his disciples how to pray. This was always the purpose Jesus had in mind when he taught this prayer. Here are some points I have been learning that have helped to strengthen my prayer life.
1. Start by focusing on God.
One of the biggest keys to any good conversation is to make sure you are fully present. My mind often starts to wander when I pray – focused on my problems and responsibilities for the day. Jesus begins the prayer by helping us to reflect on two realities of who God is – our Father and the God who is Holy. When you go to pray – pause and take a deep breath and put your mind on this truth. Think of the holiness, majesty, and might of God and then rest in the truth that He is also your Father who loves you and wants you to find fullness of joy in his presence. Take time to say thank you for all the ways he has shown love to you and provided for you.
2. Ask for his kingdom to come.
Think about the prayer requests you have for others and for yourself. Ask for God’s will to come into those needs. If you have a difficult time keeping track of prayer requests, consider using an app to help you remember what to pray for. I have been using an app called Prayer Notebook.
3. Pray about what is in front of you today.
Jesus prays for us to ask God to give us our daily bread. In other words, provide us with everything we need for today. Take some time to think about what is in front of you today and ask God to show up with his power, wisdom, mercy – or whatever else you may need – for the day that is ahead of you.
4. Ask God to examine your relationships.
How have you sinned against God in the last day (or hour)? Ask him to forgive you. Keep things right in your relationship with him. Who has sinned against you in any way? Ask God to help you forgive that person. One of the great ways to forgive someone who has wronged you is to genuinely pray for God’s best in their life.
5. Pray for protection.
Finish your prayer by recognizing your need for God does not end when you say, “Amen.” We live in a real spiritual battle each day. Pray for God to protect and deliver you from the work of Satan to tempt you and harm you.
I am so grateful Jesus took the time to help people who find it difficult to pray. It shows us the reality that God does want us to enter his presence, and he does want us to talk to him about pretty much everything. Jesus wants to help you start a new chapter in growing in prayer and fellowship with him.