A few months ago I was having a discussion with a brand new Christian and she was asking me questions about the Bible and certain things she had been reading in the book of Matthew. After a little while the conversation turned to prayer and she asked a question that I had never heard before, “How do I pray?” I stood there thinking for a minute and finally just said, “It’s like having a conversation with a friend.” In all honesty, it was this very conversation that inspired me and Valerie to start the series, “Back to Basics” on the Anchor Movement Blog. As we began doing research, Google searches, and social media scanning, we noticed that many Christians don’t have a good understanding of the basics of Christianity. Often times, we noticed that people would quote something and say that it came from the Bible when in reality, it’s not anywhere in the Bible. My favorite: GOD helps those who help themselves. That’s actually a quote popularized by Benjamin Franklin written in Poor Richards Almanac in 1733. Basic knowledge of scripture and GOD’s character would underscore the fact that we can’t help ourselves at all. Jesus had to come, live a sinless life, die on a Roman cross, and be raised from the dead by GOD, so that He could give us eternal life. So, when my friend asked me the question, “How do I pray,” she illuminated the fact that many new believers in Jesus and even people who have been a Christian for a long time, might not know how to pray or feel uncomfortable praying. So, lets see what the Bible says and give some practical steps to help you begin have a conversation with GOD.
1. Prayer is a conversation
Prayer is nothing more than a conversation with GOD. When you accept Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, the Bible tells us that through Jesus we can now come to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). That simply means we can have conversation or fellowship with GOD anytime we want. GOD is not in some far off place or only at church, but GOD is with you every minute of every day. Whether you are in the shower or in the car, GOD is ready and willing to talk, sing, or even just listen to you. How do you talk to your family and friends? Do you text your friends with Thee’s and Thou’s? No. You just talk and it’s you, individual and unique, you. That is the same way you can talk to GOD. He’s doesn’t need any fancy language or special chants before you pray. GOD just wants to hear your voice and spend time with His child. Just like any good father would want to spend time with his children and hear them talk, GOD is the same way.
2. Prayer can be verbal, written, or silent
The most comment form of prayer is a verbal conversation with GOD, but that’s not the only form of prayer. Many of the writings in the Bible are prayers to GOD expressed through written word or song. When my friend asked, “How do I pray,” she wondered if she was doing it wrong because she expressed herself better through journaling and painting than actually sitting down and speaking out loud to GOD. My answer was, “Yes!” GOD gave each one of us unique ways that we can express ourselves and many of those talents can be used during prayer. For me, there have been times where the situation leaves me speechless and I don’t know what to say. Thankfully, GOD knew we would have those moments and in Romans 8:26 Paul writes:
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” Romans 8:26-27 NLT
GOD is speaking for us even when we are silent. Your prayers to GOD don’t need to be the same as everyone else. Sometimes we talk and oftentimes we are silent. It’s not in the action or way that GOD hears our prayers but it’s through our hearts.
3. Prayer is constant
One of the misconceptions about how to pray is that is has to be done in a certain place or at a certain time, but in reality prayer is constant dialogue with GOD. Prayer can be done on your way to school, getting ready for work, in the grocery store, watching your kids on the playground, or as I mentioned earlier, the shower. Some people have a prayer closet—I have a prayer shower. What I have noticed is that GOD is not concerned with the where or how I pray, but He’s more interested in the conversation. Our prayer time isn’t limited to minutes or hours, but its a continual dialogue as we go through our day. If you had the opportunity to spend the entire day with your best friend, odds are you would talk to them for most of that day. With GOD, we have that opportunity, but many times we give Him the silent treatment for most of the day. Philippians 4:6 in the New Living Translation says it like this:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Prayer doesn’t have to be an overly complicated experience between you and GOD. In its reality, prayer is simply communication between GOD and His children. Don’t let tradition or experience keep you from enjoying the fellowship that comes when GOD’s children seek Him through prayer. Just like any loving Father, He only wants a relationship.
Over the next several weeks and months, Anchor Movement is going to focus on a series called “Back to the Basics” where we answer and define what it actually means to be a Christian. We want to answer some of the questions that new and old believers have in their walk of faith. Some examples include, “How to study the Bible,” and “Why should I go to church.” If you have a question you’d like us to answer or explore on the blog, go to our connect page and leave your response or visit our Instagram page here and leave your response in the comments.