How to Pray
Do you pray? Do you know how to pray? Do you find yourself wondering if you're doing it right? Do you make spending time with your Savior a priority? You may think these are strange questions to ask a Christian. Maybe even a little forward. No worries, I'm not really wanting you to tell me. No, my goal today is to share with you what I was reminded of in Sunday School and of course, my take away; in hopes that you'll be honest with yourself too.
I was reminded not only of the obvious importance of prayer in my relationship with Christ, but how important it is in my relationships with others. It's pretty easy to grasp the first part of this reminder, but I think the latter is one we may not even consider.
I have personally had my ups and downs when it comes to prayer over the course of my relationship with Christ. I remember back in the beginning how being constant in prayer didn't take any effort at all, in fact, it came naturally.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Then I found myself becoming too comfortable and soon prayer took a back seat and was only the first thought when something was going wrong in my life. When helplessness was my state of mind. As sad as this was a reality for me then, I'm blessed that He has continued to pursue me and over the years I've realized that it is natural to pray constantly as a child of God. We may not have the perfect formula or the most flowery of words when we have a conversation with Him, but one thing I know for sure is that He knows our hearts. He loves us. He wants to have a conversation with us. He wants to speak to us.
I know it may sound crazy to some people when I say God wants to speak to us. Although, I've never heard God's voice audibly, I sure have had thoughts drop right into my heart when I'm praying. The Holy Spirit has reminded me of many things. In fact, prayer has changed my heart. Changed my mind. Changed the way I view that person who____________. You've got one in your life, I know you do, we all do. Praying for them is the answer.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
It bears repeating. Prayer is of utmost importance in our relationship with Christ. And in our relationships with others. Whether these relationships are hard or not.
Years ago, I was given an acronym for praying. Although, I'm not a fan of formulas, I do believe this will help anyone who may be struggling...I know it sure has helped me in the past. In fact, it's a habit for me now.
The acronym is ACTS. Let me share with you How to Pray.
A - Adoration.
(deep love and respect; worship)
The first thing we should do when we begin to pray is acknowledging that He is Lord over everything. He owns it all. He's in control. He is the creator. Giving Him praise and honor. "Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy." -Psalm 99:9
C - Confession.
(a statement admitting that one is guilty of wrong doing)
The next part of praying is being honest and specific with Him about sin and dealing with it. Thanking Him for forgiveness. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." -1 John 1:9
T - Thanksgiving.
(the expression of gratitude, especially to God)
Once you've confessed any sin begin to tell Him what you're grateful for. Again specifically. Thank Him for being constant in your life. For His still small voice. "I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation." - Psalm 118:21
S - Supplication.
(the action of asking or begging for something or someone earnestly or humbly)
This may seem odd at first and strange to make your last step, but the time spent in praise, confession and thanksgiving prepares our hearts to begin to pray for others. To pray for yourself. No matter how small or insignificant you may think it is. “Make your requests known to God.” -Philippians 4:6
I realize the subject of prayer can go way beyond what I've shared today, but let this be a spring board for you. Seek Him in prayer about prayer. Ask Him to show you things. Teach you how to pray. Dig into His Word and learn more for yourself. I'm confident He'll show you. Take a look at Nehemiah. That's the book we were looking at in Sunday School.
Taken from the Gospel Project Volume 6, Session 9 - ...we are introduced to Nehemiah, who cried out to God in prayer on behalf of his people for God to restore them... we are reminded that we follow a God who forgives and redeems and who supplies whatever we need to accomplish His purposes... we pray and act with confidence in His promise.
There you have it, simple steps on how to pray. I'd love to hear if you've tried this and what you think!