How to pray

You don’t need a long face to approach God.    Image credit: Ian Greig

Introduction

What stops you from talking to God regularly? What stops you from talking to anyone regularly — or alternatively, gets you talking?

It’s about the relationship and how you feel about yourself and the other person.

If you lack confidence and feel you are just an ‘ordinary’ person and you meet someone with a title and position and a grand house to go with it, you might think, “Better not to say anything unless I am spoken to”.

If you have had some ups and downs in life… downs, definitely… and you don’t feel you would be on a holy God’s list of people He would like to hear from, you will feel — rightly or wrongly — that there is a barrier.

Actually, it’s a barrier God has taken away. And God does want to hear from you and talk to you.

The short answer is, because of Jesus. He has done for you what none of us could ever do — made the relationship right again. No barrier.

This completely changes prayer — from what might have felt like a dutiful recitation, to a conversation within a relationship.

And you can say your own prayers. As you would when talking to a friend, someone who understands you. It’s not a school composition. It’s you, talking to Your spiritual Father.

One of the most radical teachings Jesus gave to His disciples was about how you start: “When you pray, say, ‘Father…1

Jews were used to memorised, recited, formal prayers. Unfortunately we have fallen back on that idea… but Jesus encourages us to be real and to express ourselves, while giving us pointers — an outline, in fact — of what it is good to include.

Can we trust our own prayers? Will they be ‘correct’? It’s not a duty, defined by prayers in a book, and following a prescribed order, but a conversation that comes out of a relationship – and the Holy Spirit has a particular role in helping us to pray. He will bring the right words and He will vary that with different people. We are all individuals, all loved by God for who we are.

The foundational prayer, the starting point really, is the prayer to ask Jesus into your heart. From that point all, all becomes much more clear – and possible!

Becoming comfortable with prayer takes a bit of practice. But if we want to grow in our faith, it’s important that we’re able to have honest conversations with God who is above all, relational..

If you’re not sure what to pray about, we’re going to follow up with five examples of daily prayers which all relate to the master ‘prayer outline’ Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him for some prayer coaching. These are suggested prayers you can use as they stand, or as a starting point for your own prayer following the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Luke 11:2 []

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