By Pastor Steve Kelly / Books /
What do you think of prayer? For many people, the thought of prayer conjures up a solemn religious experience with candles and rituals. For others, prayer is a wish list of hopes and dreams that never seem to come true. For some, prayer is a last-ditch desperate attempt to find comfort in the midst of tragedy.
Prayer is a concept that means many things to many people. For me, prayer is an extended conversation with God. It doesn’t end when I go to sleep. It doesn’t end when a Sunday church service is dismissed. Prayer is an ongoing opportunity to stay connected to my Heavenly Father visit here. It is vital for my spiritual walk, my health and mindset, and most importantly, so that I can daily re-align my will with His.
Oswald Chambers, the author of My Utmost for His Highest, wrote “Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.”
A lot of times in prayer, we end up telling God all that we want or asking for help with our many troubles. God wants to meet our needs, but prayer is more than a one-way conversation. As Mr. Chambers’ quote emphasizes, prayer is not just for us to talk to God, there’s a point for us to be still and listen to Him. That may be difficult at first, especially nowadays. It’s pretty rare for anyone to have five minutes of quiet, much less a dedicated time of silence every day or week for prayer. The good news is, in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus taught us how we should pray. By using His example, we can center our heart and calm our spirit. We can follow His example to place us in a position of listening to God when we pray. Try these steps next time you pray:
- Give Reverence to God (Holy is God’s name)
- Surrender to His Will (Your Kingdom come)
- Ask God to Provide Today’s Needs (Give us our daily bread)
- Forgive Others & Accept Forgiveness (Forgive us as we forgive others)
- Request Protection from Temptation (Deliver us from evil)
- Accept God’s Authority (Yours is the Kingdom & Power)
- Agree with God (Amen)
It won’t happen this way every time, but by developing these habits in your prayer life, you will begin to grow in your faith and understanding of who God is and how He wants to work in your life. There will be times you pray for yourself, and times you pray for others. There will even be times you pray for your enemies!
Whatever the purpose, daily prayer helps align your spirit with God, and helps illuminate your path as you walk the journey of a faithful Christian leader. Prayer can and should be natural. Follow Jesus’ example, and you’ll discover prayer, uncomplicated.