Ready for a new year??
Did you choose a motto for this year, or perhaps a habit you want to build? This year I want to focus on “PRAYER”.
If I want to build a real relationship with God, the best way to do so is to start speaking more with Him; He is actually standing there waiting for my prayer. He said so in the book of Revelation, “Behold,I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
If prayer will be my focus this year then I should start putting some thought about how to do it:
When should I pray?
- Paul commands us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- David says “Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments.” (Psalm 119:164)
That’s a rough start! I should be praying the whole time! It’s a taste of what we will be doing in Heaven; joining the heavenly hosts and the angelic choir and praying without ceasing in the presence of God. It is also worth mentioning that “seven” in the Bible is the number of completeness, so when David says that he praises seven times a day, it should be translated as “the whole day I praise you”, which resonates with Paul’s command.
- The first book of Chronicles says “stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening” (1 Chronicles 23:30)
Ok, so that so much below par … But at least now I have a practical biblical minimum; pray once in the morning and once in the evening. That sounds a bit more feasible for me as a starter in the prayer journey!
What should I say?
It is OK not to know what to say. Attending prayer meetings where people speak so fluently with God, referencing biblical verses, reminding Him of His promises, and not stumbling with words makes me feel so inferior to them. It even makes me feel so embarrassed in front of God that these people know what their doing, in comparison to me standing there listening to them, and if I am asked to share I would stumble and say a few words that make no sense.
Well let me assure you this, you are not the first:
The sign-up sheet for Prayer 101 contains some familiar names: the apostles John, James, Andrew, and Peter. When one of Jesus’ disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1 NIV), none of the others objected. No one walked away saying, “Hey, I have prayer figured out.” The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance. Maybe you do too.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer (Luke 11:1–4).
This quotable, repeatable, portable prayer –Our Father who is in Heaven– is actually all what one needs to say to God, if and only if it is said truly from the heart. It was never about the length of the prayer nor the beauty of the words!