“Prayer.” When you see that word, what thoughts or images come to mind? Does talking to God come easy to you? Or do you struggle to pray?
Knowing what to say to God doesn’t always feel easy, and sometimes, prayer gets weighed down by our misconceptions about what a conversation with God should look like.
“Pray then like this…”
2,000 years ago, Jesus taught His disciples to pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those
who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
This is now a famous example on how to pray. But how do we apply it to our everyday 21st-century lives?
First, we need to understand how not to pray. Before teaching the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told His disciples, “when you pray, pray to your Father in private…” and, “do not heap up empty phrases…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
If God already knows what we need, then prayer isn’t simply about the words we say. If we’re praying to impress people, or if we’re treating prayer like a box to check, then we’re missing out on the power of prayer.
Prayer is, and always will be, a dynamic conversation with God. When we realize this, the Lord’s Prayer becomes a freeing framework that helps us talk to God every day.
Here’s a 6-step guide to prayer that can help:
- Refocus on God.
“Our Father in heaven, holy is Your Name …”
- Realign your will.
“Your kingdom come …”
- Release your concerns.
“Give us today the food we need …”
- Repent and respond.
“And forgive us … as we forgive …”
- Request God’s protection.
“… deliver us from evil …”
- Rejoice and reflect.
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When we start to pray like Jesus did, we will start to experience intimacy with God like Jesus did. And when we let prayer shape the way we live, we start to realize that we can approach God at all times with confidence, vulnerability, and trust.