How to pray. Wow I guess we’ll just jump in. This is a big topic and I’m not any kind of religious guru, I just have a heart for Jesus.
The main point here, is there is no need to memorize a prayer. I know certain denominations have memorized prayers (part of my family is Catholic so I totally get this) but I encourage you to branch out. It just seems so much more sincere when you have that conversational aspect of prayer, it’s just like talking to your best friend.
I’m sure most of you’ve probably heard of the Lord’s prayer, but if not here it is. This is Matthew 6:9-13.
9 “This then is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Now you may be saying to yourself “This sounds like a memorized prayer.” And you’d be correct. But if you look deeper it’s more than just words, it’s a guide. Lets start with verse 9.
9 Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name
First off, hallowed means regarded as holy or sacred. So now that that is out of the way, the whole content of this first verse is PRAISE. The author of this verse starts off this prayer with praise for God. Because if God wasn’t there who would we pray to right?
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
So verse 10 is basically an acknowledgment of God’s will. It is seeing God’s will and desiring it in your own life.
11 Give us today our daily bread
What a short but powerful verse! This verse is simply asking for what we need today. Not a new mustang or for a million dollars or a brand new wardrobe, just for what we need. But of course asking for things in God’s name is always appropriate.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
This is a pretty profound verse in my opinion. We ask for forgiveness, because we followed Jesus’ example and forgave others. This shows a follow through of God’s plan and also an essential part of our lives- forgiveness.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
This is a simple plea for protection. This is asking for the strength to “stand up” to the devil. This is protection from the worldly ways and showing our reliance on God.
So obviously this should not be a formula you run through in your head every time you pray, but it is a good reference or starting point of what prayer should look like.
For me, prayer is an all day thing. I pray for the little things I think of, or thank him for small things through my day that I take for granted. I heard of a woman who never said amen because she had a conversation all day with God. I think that is a really profound idea. A lot people don’t have the time to spend an hour in worship or prayer, but it is as simple as fitting it in when you can, prayer don’t need to be long or formal.
Matthew 6:6 says “But when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This just shows another aspect of prayer. Prayer isn’t for people. It’s for God. There is time for prayer with others, but just like Jesus did, pray in secret. Find a place or time when you can be alone with God. For me some days I’m so busy, this place is my car as a race around town. But that doesn’t bother God. God enjoys every minute you spend with him. And obviously the more minutes you spend the deeper your relationship and faith grow.