This week our daughter Alli leaves for her freshman year of college and while we have been preparing emotionally to moving one step closer to an empty nest, Alli has had quite the summer. Besides the usual having out with friends and going to movies, Alli has taken an interest in all things outdoors. Her older brother took her shooting, she and a group of friends went “enoing” & frog hunting, and recently she and a few friends went to the mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, Bass Pro Shops. While they were there Alli tweeted the following with the photo below: “This is what we did while the boys shopped #backwards”
It took me a minute to realize that Alli was saying it was backwards that the girls were shooting while the boys shopped – pretty clever.
As I touched upon last week (http://wp.me/s1QSbw-378) I think we tend to get the purposes of prayer backwards as well – treating God as a “cosmic vending machine” expecting Him to answer our every wish. I think we sometimes get how to pray backwards as well. Prayer is not just spending 5 minutes in the morning talking to God. Prayer is not just praying on the way to the meeting or on the way to the game or doctor’s appointment. I am not saying praying this way is necessarily bad but there has to be more than just spending a few minutes a day with our Father in heaven trying to get Him to answers our list of wants. So how should we pray? God provides us with the perfect model in Matthew 6:
- Verse 6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father…” God is telling us to pray alone.
- Verse 7 “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words…” Don’t pray repetitive, ritualistic prayers but pray from your heart, have a genuine dialog with you Father.
- Verses 9-13 give us the ACTS model for prayer – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.
I am not saying I have figured out this prayer thing – I am not sure we will completely understand it until we are face-to-face with our creator – but this is how I pray:
- If prayer is all about having a personal, intimate relationship with our creator in order to understand His will and be transformed, then we have to spend a considerable amount of time in prayer. Personally I need at least 30 minutes and preferably an hour.
- Pray for yourself but not in the way we tend to do. What I mean is pray to God to help us be the person he wants us to be and praying for our weaknesses using verses we memorize. I have 7 different sets of verses I meditate on every time I pray – James 1:19-20 and Phil 4:4-7 for example.
- It shouldn’t stop there as Paul states in Ephesians 6:18: “And pray in the Spirit at all times…” While a significant amount of time in prayer is a great start God wants us to “Pray without ceasing” as well. Talking with Him throughout the day, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, and defeating Satan in the process.
How do you pray? I would love to hear what helps you in your prayer life!
In His Service,