Prayer. It's how we talk to God. It's how we take our requests to a higher power that we cannot fully wrap our heads around. It's how we give thanks and how we receive comfort. It's a universal practice but something that separates us all the same.
Where do I start?
Jesus Christ left us an example for how we are to pray. Not only did he leave an example but he lead by example in his intimate prayer to the Father for those he now called his friends. Let's take a look at the most recognised and revered prayer in the faith.
God is worthy of our reverence. When we approach him in prayer, envision coming to the throne of a King. A throne of grace we now have the honor of approaching through the name above all names in Jesus Christ. Lift his name up and sing his praises for the wonderful God that he is.
God is in control. His will should be what we desire above our own. It was the will of God to give his son power over all flesh and in turn the son would grant eternal life to as many as God would bring to him. When we relinquish the keys to the vessel God created, we come into a greater understanding which gives us peace. His will is our purpose.
Ask and believe that God will deliver. God knows his creation from the color of our skin to the hairs on our head. If he took the time to make every creation unique, he will take the time to sustain us. God knows what we desire even before we approach him and this put our minds at ease. Our daily bread refers to the spiritual food which will sustain us even when natural food is absent.
We do ourselves a disservice when we fail to confess our sins. Gone are the days where we hide our sins with fig leaves like Adam and Eve in the garden. Jesus is our covering now. Trust his unfailing word which declares:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
To be forgiven, one must forgive. We can pray the most elaborate of prayers for hours on end but if we hold onto resentment God will not hear us. No matter what someone else may have done to us, just know that we have done worse to God. He forgave us for the most horrible of sins so we are obligated to forgive our peers. Jesus preached forgiveness as he represented a God of mercy and not sacrifice.
The latter part of the prayer verse also introduces an external element into our prayer. We are called to pray for others. We do so because the body of Christ is just that – a body. If you are the head and the arm is sick, pray for the arm. Always remember that someone, somewhere prayed for you once. You never know who may need a prayer and you might be the intercessor to stand in the gap for one in need.
If the life of Christ showed us anything it's that a believer will not avoid evil. Overcoming evil is our what we do. We have a strength the world does not possess. Pray not to avoid but that God gives us the strength to emerge victorious. The Lord is our shepherd and he will guide us out of whatever evil may be thrown our way.
The closing of our prayer gives thanks in advance of any blessing we receive. Even though we may not see the power of God manifest in our lives right away, we give thanks because we believe in his promises.
Pray the word of God. Your prayer could be seven words or seventy, just make it personal. If you're already a prayer warrior, thank you for standing in the gap. If you're new to prayer have no fear, God is waiting and will be happy to hear from you. If you come to the Lord with a sincere heart, there is nothing that prayer won't do.
Prayers to read:
1 Samuel 2:1–10
Psalms 25, 31, 51 & 103
Nehemiah 1:4 - 1:11
Acts 4:24 - 4:31