Lord, Teach Us To Pray
A friend of mine and I were talking about an answered prayer. One of those that was a long time coming. She said, "Jill, I just said to myself, this is a 30 year old answered prayer!" I started thinking, I know we have moaned and groaned but we never gave up! Because of our faith, we believed even though we were impatient and even though we doubted. And you know what? Today, it was worth all of the wait! It is that good! Now if I can just remember that for some of my other LONG TIME prayer requests!
When our prayers are answered quick, we thank God and keep on going. But when we have had to wait for our prayers to be answered a long time, doubt can creep in. It is hard not to get discouraged. That is when I begin to thank Him in advance for what He is doing. That helps me trust Him that He is working on the desires of my heart, whether I can see it or not. It always comes back to trust! Prayer is a powerful thing and God hears them all. We are told in Lamentations 3: 25, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." It even says, "wait" for Him, letting us know that we may have to wait!
Jesus told us how to pray in Matthew 6: -113, "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
Matthew 6: 5-6, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Prayer is our time with God. Our time to talk AND Listen.
There are so many ways we can pray. Most of us are probably familiar with the pastoral prayer is praise, confession, petition (asking God to fulfill a need which acknowledges our dependence on God) and intercession (praying on behalf of others) and the Lord's prayer. Centering prayers are meditating on the presence of God - focusing on Him.
Sometimes we may not be able to stop, speak out loud, close our eyes, bow our head or kneel but we can ALWAYS pray! Cultivate the habit of “breath prayers" which are simple, short, easy prayers. They may be short and simple but they can make a huge difference in your life helping you to "pray without ceasing". 1 Thessalonians 5: 17, "pray without ceasing". You can simply say, "Lord, have mercy!" That is Biblical! Psalm 123: 3, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!" Luke 18: 13, "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!'" Luke 18: 38, "And he cried out, saying, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'”
There are times that I know I need to soak in God's presence. Years ago, someone taught me to breathe before I pray. Breathe out the clutter and breathe in the Holy Spirit. This action helps me to focus on God, saying, "Here I am Lord." After attending a prayer workshop I added to that, "The Lord is my Shepherd - I lack nothing." Then I rest in God's peace, focusing on Him.
Humble posture prayer is kneeling, with your face on the ground. If you have never tried this, it is very humbling and you will probably want to continue using this posture. The act of being low down helps you realize that you are kneeling before your Lord and Savior!
I have written about this one before and I think it can be life changing for us as it changes our attitudes. St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged people to develop an intimate relationship with God through a daily examination. Reflect on what gifts God gave you that day. Think about the emotions of that day. Ask God to show you the ways you fell short. Pray about the one things that stands out. Pray for His light to shine on you tomorrow. Pray for guidance, hope protections, health, wisdom.
Our life is adorned with gifts from God. The gift of prayer is one of our biggest gifts - to be able to communicate with the King of Kings. To have a conversation with Him - a two way communication! It is also the best gift we can give someone else - to pray for them or for their prayer concerns. And it is the best gift someone else can give us - to pray for us or for our concerns. It's time to have a chat with God.
"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden." Corrie Ten Boom