prayerMany people struggle to pray, are not really sure what prayer is or how long to pray for.  Should they kneel, should they stand, close their eyes, clasp their hands? Prayer is an alien concept to many, it is the unthinkable to speak openly to someone you cannot see. A person who does not believe in anything or is not sure what to believe in will probably laugh nervously or look uncomfortable if you recommend prayer to them. The very thought of it will result in them feeling awkward, silly and confused. Many new Christians see mature Christians praying publicly, quoting scriptures and praying in tongues, also referred to as praying in the spirit and become nervous and unsure about their own prayer life. If you are struggling to pray, become apprehensive about it so avoid it at all cost, let’s just break down some of those barriers and remove that wall.

Prayer put simply is the way in which we communicate with God by speaking to Him, praising Him and listening to Him when He speaks to us. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone without ever speaking or communicating with them and ignoring them when they tried to communicate with you? How did that work out for you? No doubt it caused problems and unhappiness leading to eventual breakdown and separation from that person. All parties are wounded and scarred from the experience and some are no longer able to trust anyone again; that’s the usual pattern. Communication is vastly under-rated but so completely necessary, an unquestionable deal breaker in relationships. It is the same with our relationship with God, we cannot have an effective relationship with Him if we do not communicate with Him and we do this through prayer.

The way we pray is different for everyone as we are all unique and express ourselves in different ways. Some people are very vocal, can pray loudly and for hours, while others prefer to pray silently or in their hearts. Some Christians are very good at setting specific times to talk to God. The way you pray and your prayer life will develop as you spend time with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to teach you. Don’t know who He is? I will introduce you to Him in the very near future, but for the moment He is God the Holy Spirit and through Him we learn about Jesus and the deeper things of God.

The following scriptures give us an insight into Jesus’s prayer life, so do read the full chapters in the Bible to gain a deeper understanding.

Matthew 14:23
And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone.

Mark 1:35-37
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All men seek for You.

Luke 5:16
And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Jesus prayed on His own, often away from the public, on the mountain, in the wilderness, in the morning long before daylight, during the day and in the evening, before He ate or gave food to anyone. Jesus lived a life of prayer. When necessary, but not often He prayed in public as He did just before He raised Lazarus from the dead and He did this because the people needed to know He was sent by God.

When you pray you should pray to the Father in the name of Jesus (His Son.) You must never pray to angels, saints, objects, anyone or anything. Only God can answer your prayers so praying to anyone else is a waste of your precious time, you won’t get an answer from God. Maybe from the enemy but you don’t want that.

No one needs to see or hear you praying and you don’t have to kneel, God sees and hears you. Kneeling is a sign of humility and when you humble yourself to God in your private time, this is between you and Him. Whether you sit, kneel, stand or lie, it really doesn’t matter. As a new Christian or someone who has never prayed before, start off by asking the Holy Spirit to teach you how to pray, He is our ultimate teacher and He will teach you to pray like Christ. In asking Him to Help you, you are already communicating with God, remember He is God the Holy Spirit.

Always keep it simple and don’t complicate matters or confuse yourself. When you wake in the mornings and your partner is lying next to you, the first thing you would say to that person, if you are communicating with each other, would be “good morning.” If you are feeling a little nervous talking to God, just tell Him “Good morning Holy Spirit, Good morning God my Father, Good morning Lord Jesus,” take baby steps. Thanks would be a natural progression, “thank you for waking me this morning,” many went to be and didn’t wake up.  You have a busy day ahead, problems at work, an exam, an interview, you have nothing planned and are feeling like a spare part in life. Tell Him all about it or anything else you want to talk about.  “Lord I need your help today I don’t think I can get through it without you.”

Start by having simple conversations with God, acknowledging His presence, giving Him thanks. Once you start the Holy Spirit will work with you to continue in prayer and it will become easier and more natural. You just need to keep it simple and speak from the heart, no rehearsals needed, don’t worry about Christian ‘jargon,’ and trying to fashion your prayer according to how you see others pray. At this early stage in your Christian journey, when you are a ‘babe in Christ,’ it is good to take baby steps and start by fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit, spend some ‘me time’ with Him. Acknowledge Him as He is always with you. Don’t worry about structure or duration, that will come later. Give God thanks and praise, you don’t always have to be asking for something. God knows what you have need for.

When you are happy share your joys with Him, when you are sad, tell Him about it.

Closing your eyes, bowing your head, clasping your hands, kneeling all marks of humility and respect and can be done when you are at home in private if you wish. However, this has evolved through the ages but there are no scriptures requesting that the Christian must do these things when praying. Praying is from the heart, it is the condition of the heart that the Lord will respond to not regimental practices. On the day of Pentecost when the hundred and twenty prayed in the upper room and the Holy Spirit descended from the heavens and filled them they were sitting (Acts 2:1-4.)

Amen is usually said at the end of a prayer to affirm the prayer with the Lord as a true statement.  It is derived from the Hebrew word meaning truth, certainty, verily (truly.)

The more you pray,  the more you will want to pray and the easier it becomes.  Build and strengthen your relationship with God through daily prayer.

PL Bennett