Most Christians struggle with their prayer life. For some, prayer is a crisis hotline…kinda like the Batphone. We pick it up and dial God’s 911 when we’re in trouble or need something from him. Others struggle finding the right “formula” to prayer so their prayers will get pushed to the front of the line for God’s holy consideration. Some feel like the key to getting their prayers answered is to use the big reverent words in their prayers. Others feel like prayer is nothing more than a chore that’s required to do because you’re a Christian. Many struggle with praying out loud in a group of people. Do we kneel? Do we have to close our eyes? Sometimes we get so hung up on the “how to” that we forget that prayer is just a conversation with the God who created us and loves us.
Prayer is hard work
How to pray isn’t our only struggle. If you’ve committed yourself to prayer, then you know that prayer can be hard work. We come to our prayer time, with our prayer lists and our carefully written out promises from the Bible next to each prayer and it doesn’t take long before we drift off to sleep or our mind begins to wonder. Then there is the part about waiting for God’s timing and trying to discern His will.
Feeling inadequate in your prayer life? You’re not alone
If prayer is something you feel inadequate in, you’re not alone. It’s very interesting that Jesus’ disciples worked alongside of Jesus and they only asked Him to teach them one thing. They didn’t ask for a crash course in feeding a large crowd with a boy’s small lunch. They didn’t sign up for Casting out Demons 101. Nor did they ask Jesus to teach them how to heal the sick. The Bible only records one thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them. What was so important to them, that they asked for instruction? They asked Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1).
It’s also important to notice the moment they made this request. The first part of Luke 11:1 tells us that Jesus had just finished praying. Have you ever sat in church or small group, listening to some pray and think, “I wish I could pray like that?” The disciples must have heard Jesus praying – the Son of God, talking intimately with His Father. Don’t you wish you could have eavesdropped on that prayer?! The Bible doesn’t tell us Jesus’ exact words in that prayer, but the result was the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray.
Prayers like Jesus’ prayers
Do you ever stop to think what it must have been like to hear Jesus pray and then see miracles occur. The disciples wanted the same results in their prayers that Jesus got from His. Most of us would like to get results like Jesus did too. He loves for us to come to Him and ask Him to teach us something we are struggling with:
- Father, teach me to love you more.
- Father, teach me to praise you more.
- Teach me to thank you more.
- Teach me how to lead others to you.
- Father, teach me how to know your will.
- Father, teach me how to pray.
- Teach me to trust you.
Jesus answered the disciples with a model for prayer. Probably one you’ve quoted (or at least heard) more than once in your life.
Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, they will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory
Prayer basics 101: Praise and adoration
The beginning of the model prayer starts off with praise and adoration to a Holy God, acknowledging Him our heavenly father and giving reverence to His name. Often, our prayers begin with immediately ticking off the long list of things we need God to for us without ever just stopping and taking the time to pause and worship Him for who He is. In Jesus’ model prayer, he begins with worship. So here are just a few traits to help you get started with praise and adoration
- A God who is worthy of our praises.
- A God who is omnipotent, creator, holy, just, powerful, excellent in all His ways, good, faithful, true.
- He’s a God who’s mercies are new every morning and who’s love is unfailing.
- He is a God who relentlessly pursues us, even in the times when we want nothing to do with Him.
- He is righteous.
- Our rock of ages.
- He is our teacher.
- And He keeps His promises.
- He is our Savior and our Shepherd.
- God is a strong tower to which we can run for comfort, protection, and shelter.
- He is Jehovah.
- He is our helper, our healer, and He is victorious.
How can we not give Him praise that is due Him? Yet rather than praise Him, we take Him for granted and treat Him more like a genie in a bottle that we rub and He pops out to grant us our wishes. And when we don’t get an answer on our time table, we declare that prayer doesn’t work for us and we….quit praying. Try beginning your prayer time with worshiping God before you start on that long list of prayer requests. It will change the way you see prayer.
Prayer basics 101: Thy will be done
When we don’t get an answer to prayer, it might be that we just need to wait for God’s perfect timing. Or it might be that we didn’t pray for His will and He has something better in mind than what we think we want. Maybe His “no” is because even though we think we know what we need, God sees so much more than we do and He knows that what we’re asking Him for is not for our good. Instead of getting upset, trust Him for His perfect timing, His perfect answer, and His perfect will. We can trust Him that He is working all things out for our good, as any loving Father would do.
So, take time to earnestly seek God’s will regarding the things you are praying about. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” We can’t know what God’s will is, if we do not take time to ask Him…so ask Him. Search His Word to determine His will. Ask a few close, trusted, Christian friends to pray with you to discover God’s will. He will let you know it.
When you know His will, you can pray with confidence. When you know His will, you can move forward, even if it isn’t His will. There is something about seeking His will that if His will is different than ours, our will changes to match His as we begin to pray with a heart that truly wants His will.
Prayer basics 101: Give us this day our daily bread
Now Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life. In other words, He is everything we need for spiritual sustenance that sustains eternal life. However, this part of the model prayer is about what we need for today just to get through today. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” And in Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus told us, “ Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Jesus didn’t want us worrying about next week or next month – just what we need today.
Prayer Basics 101: Forgive us our trespasses
Our prayer time also needs to include a time of confessing our sins to God and asking Him to forgive us. We also need to let go of the wrongs that people have done to us. How can we so righteously hold grudges against others when the King of Kings has lovingly forgiven us?
Prayer Basics 101: Lead us not into temptation
We can then pray for God’s protection over us as we go through the day and for his guidance. We can ask that Satan would not have any foothold into our lives. As we do, we can “put on the armor of God.” I like to do a visualization in my mind with each piece of armor as I pray. For example, “Lord, will put my helmet of salvation on my head, protecting my mind from thoughts and temptations that Satan may send my way.” I go through each piece of armor, acknowledge what it’s purpose is and ask God to put it on me.
Prayer Basics 101: For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory
Lastly, Jesus’ model prayer acknowledges the power and glory of God. He has the power to heal. He has the power to meet that financial need. God has the power to restore broken relationships. He has the power to bring a rebellious child back to Him. He has the power to help overcome an addiction. God has the power to help us get that job. He has the power to give us the strength to get through another day of an aging parent struggling with Alzheimer’s or cancer. God has the power to make that dream a reality. He has the power to enable you to do that impossible task He’s asked you to do. And when his power shows up, He is the one who will receive the glory.
Prayer is simply communicating with a God who loves you
There really is no “magic” method to prayer. When it comes down to it, prayer is nothing more than you communicating with a God who loves you. Just tell Him what’s on your heart, just as if you were talking with your best friend. He already knows anyway, so don’t worry about how eloquent your prayers are or being afraid of hurting His feelings. Just come as you are. Worship Him. Seek His will. Let your requests be known. Suit Up in your Armor. Acknowledge His glory. Trust that He has your very best ready for you.
Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template
Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.[Download not found]
Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan
We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.[Download not found]
Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan
With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out![Download not found]
Download our Free Self-Care Wheel
The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.
Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.[Download not found]
This week’s new Christian Tees designs:
This week, we are celebrating the accomplishments of the class of 2021. If you have a high school, college, or university graduate this year, our Class of 2021 shirts and products make a great gift. View the samples below and other products in this design in our Spreadshop store. Once in the store, you can click on the customize tab and add your school name or graduate’s name!
For all the seniors celebrating graduation in a few months. Includes Jeremiah 29:11. If you have a senior graduating, this design makes a great gift.
Here are some of our favorite designs
New in the Teespring Store: The Prayer of Blessing
We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store.
God instructed the Israelite priests to pray the prayer of blessing every day over the people. The prayer is found in Numbers 6:24-26. Hang the canvass in your home or carry the mug, tote bag, or water bottle and let the prayer of blessing impact all those who you meet throughout the day.
We’ve also put this design on a poster, coffee mug, a stainless steel water bottle, phone cases, and a few other products.
Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube
You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.
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