Updated: May 23, 2018
What is prayer?
Prayer is simply talking to your Father. Prayer is not about using fancy words or beautiful sentences. Just like a father or mother loves to hear their small child try to communicate, God loves it when we talk to him in whatever way we are comfortable.
Prayer is not just talking to God; it is also listening. Taking time to pause and just listen to what God might
want to communicate to us is also prayer. This can be a little more challenging. Listening to God can look different for everyone. We encourage you to have a pen and paper nearby during these prayer times so that you may journal what God is telling you. Here are a few examples:
1. “God I am struggling with how to I parent my teens better. What do you want to show me about this?” Now pause, listen and journal.
2. “How do I create boundaries in this situation that are healthy, loving and Christ-like?” Now pause, listen and journal.
Journaling everything that comes to mind is a way of keeping our thoughts moving so God can do the rest. You may have thoughts of distraction, such as “Did I take out the trash can today?” or “Is it time to change the oil in the car?”. These thoughts are easy to identify as your own. Do not get discouraged. Simply ask Jesus to help you focus on what God wants you to know and continue journaling. Share the thoughts you feel God is bringing to mind with a friend or mentor you trust, and ask them to help you identify what lines up with scripture. God will never communicate with you in a way that does not line up with His Word. Learning to not only talk to God, but also listen to him will make praying more meaningful, impactful, AND FUN!
There are several kinds of prayer you can experiment with:
Casual prayers. “God, I am late for the doctor and I would really like to make all the lights between here and the office.” These prayers are not desperate but God enjoys walking through life with you and communicating with you along the way.
Prayers of Thanksgiving. These are prayers that thank God for his provision and blessing for us daily. “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1
Prayers of Praise. These prayers recognize and magnify the qualities of God. He is: loving; forgiving; long suffering; patient; wise; willing to do life with us; and this list goes on and on. Praise has a way of reminding us how big God is.
Crisis prayers. “God, I am ill and I am afraid! Please give me rest and comfort in you.” These are the prayers that we pray during the difficult and often times painful moments in life. These are very important and need to be prayed.
Kingdom prayer. These prayers are designed to see God’s kingdom advanced on earth. One example of this kind of prayer might be, “God, I pray that your people would work together to put an end to racism and mistreatment of others.”
God loves when we pray to him. Hebrews 7:24-25 tells us so. Jesus will always be there to help us talk to God when we don’t know how to find the words to say what is on our hearts. Because we are in relationship with Jesus, it is impossible to mess prayer up! We encourage you to try many types of prayer and learn all the ways God wants to speak to you!
Pray by yourself and with others. Praying with others helps us grow in community and in our prayer practice. This allows us hear what God has put on the heart of others as we pray and share with one another as God designed.
Finally, STAY WITH IT! Prayer is not only to be done when we are in trouble or in need, but instead, to be done regularly and often. Prayer is the continual decision to remain in relationship with God, your creator and father who loves you unconditionally! “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18