Prayer. Prayer. As a child I learned to recite these simple prayers.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
God is good
And we thank him for our food
By his hands we all are fed
Give us Lord our daily bread
In Jesus name
I never thought about what I was saying. I just said what my parents had taught me to say. When I became an adult and started to grow spiritually, I realized that although I wasn’t reciting these prayers, my pray life was immature. When I really thought about praying I was scared. I was intimidated. I had grown up in the church all my life. I had heard long, passion filled prayers. But how would I learn to pray? Well, it seems crazy, but a few Sundays after I began thinking about this, the leaders at my church said that they were going to begin a series on prayer. (lol) No lie. I almost fell out of my chair. I am not going to spout the entire series of messages here. In essence however, this is what I learned:
1) A prayer is as simple as a thought directed toward God. “Father I need you.” “Lord, I’m tired.” “Thank you, Jesus!”
2) The more comfortable you become talking to God, the more you will do it.
3) Maturing in prayer involves understanding the Word of God. His Word is the sword and shield. Prayer is a weapon. If you don’t know how to use your weapon, you will not be as effective using it.
a. Suggestion: If you are praying about overcoming lust, find all the scripture you can on overcoming lust. If you are praying to be a better steward of you finances, find all the scripture you can about being a good steward.
4) Follow Biblical example: (This is not an inclusive list)
a. David’s Prayer – 2 Samuel 7:18-29
b. Hannah’s Prayer – 2 Samuel 2:1-10
c. The Lord’s Prayer – Luke 11:2-4
5) You can ask the Lord for guidance. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9
You can ask the leaders in your church.
You can ask a spiritual mentor; mother, father, uncle, aunt, etc.
These points were very helpful for me. I felt armed and ready. I felt confident. I felt comfortable enough to pray, not just in my mind, but out loud in front of other people. Yay!
Now that I felt confident, I prayed for longer periods of time. While this is great sometimes, it is not always necessary. I also found that if I was praying for people on my prayer list I would meander back and forth from person and issue. This was ineffective and distracting. I was talking to my mother-in-law one day about her prayer life. She always starts her day with praise and worship. She is also very adamant about having quiet time for prayer. I asked her how she keeps her prayers focused when she has a lot to pray about and not as much time as she’d like to pray in the morning. She told me about the acronym A.C.T.S. that had been shared with her.
(A)cknowledge – He is God
C)onfess – your sin(s)
(T)hanks- Offer a prayer of thanksgiving
(S)upplication – Ask for your needs, wants, desires, etc.
I thought this was very helpful. Prayer can be intimidating. Many people feel like they don’t know where to start. I hope this will help even the most seasoned of prayer warriors. (smile)
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