Prayer can seem like such a daunting and even sometimes archaic task.
Is it necessary? Why do we do it?
And even if we understood it, how do we even go about it?
All of these questions and musings are valid and completely understandable to ask. Even Jesus’ disciples themselves asked him, “how should we pray?”
So if you find yourself in that situation or season, don’t be discouraged. You are not alone; in fact, you’re in excellent company. The truth is, if you’re asking how to pray, you’re asking one of the best questions out there.
What is Prayer?
Let's start at the very beginning: what is prayer?
Simply put, prayer is honest and vulnerable conversation with God.
At its core, prayer is the understanding that on our own, we cannot do or be enough in this life. It is the recognition of our utter dependance on God to live the day to day and hour by hour.
There is a popular nuance that suggests prayer is only necessary when the big and bad things of life occur. Natural disasters, death, widespread destruction are the times that most people call most for corporate and individual prayer.
The truth, as laid out in Scripture, is that prayer should be happening at all times, regardless of the circumstances of life, whether good or bad.
Here's just one example:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Nineteenth century South African writer and pastor Andrew Murray said, “God’s child can conquer everything by prayer. Is it any wonder that Satan does his utmost to snatch that weapon from the Christian or to hinder him in the use of it?”
How Do You Start Praying?
So, how are we to start praying?
Jesus Himself gave us the answer in Matthew 6:9-13:
“This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
This model prayer as laid out by Jesus is the answer to how to pray:
- Start by praising and worshipping God; acknowledging Him for who He is and partnering with Him for His ultimate will to be done.
- As your heart recognizes the majesty and magnitude of who God is, Jesus said we ought to ask for what we need. There is not only room, but an invitation from God himself for us to come to him boldly with our requests.
- Ask for forgiveness. Jesus also welcomes us to repent where we fall short in light of the grace and forgiveness that has been offered to us. If God can forgive us, why do we dare not forgive others?
- Finally, ask for protection from the enemy and from sin. Jesus knows the reality of an enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy your life (John 10:10) and he shows us in this model prayer how necessary it is to ask God to deliver us from the snares of the evil one.
Building a Strong Prayer Habit
If you start viewing prayer as a real, honest, and vulnerable conversation between you and God, you will find yourself engaging in it more often than when you feel like you “need” to.
The truth is, we are always in need of God. Even when things in life are seemingly good, we are needy creatures who are desperate for God.
Gods desire is to commune with you, and we do that best through prayer. If prayer is new and seems daunting to you, take time to write down your prayers as journal entries. Use the prayer section in the Daily Kairos Journal to jot down your thoughts to the Lord. He hears every single prayer, so don’t be afraid to call out to Him!
And if you'd like to take it one step further and commit to building a stronger, daily prayer life, we'd love for you to join our free Holy Habits Challenge.
This 7-day email challenge will guide you through Scripture and habit-forming psychology to help you grow in your faith and build a stronger prayer life.
Now, we'd love to hear from you - what does prayer mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!