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I often emphasize the importance of praying, fasting, and studying the Bible to my readers. Although all three are critical in developing our relationship with the Lord, in this blog, I will focus on prayer.
What is Prayer?
What is prayer, you may ask? Simply defined, prayer is a method of addressing (or communicating with) God. It is something that we Christians are expected to do continuously (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17.), and it has multiple spiritual benefits. Prayer is how we petition (make requests) to the Lord. It makes us spiritually stronger, and as previously written, prayer is how we establish and build a bond with Him.
1. Prayer is How We Communicate with God: The term "communicate" can be defined in multiple ways. For the purpose of this blog, I will define communicate as to share information, thoughts, or ideas with someone. When we pray, we share information, thoughts, or ideas directly with our Lord. Although He already knows our thoughts and feelings because He is omniscient, it still is important that we address God and impart these things to Him. He wants to hear from us! Think of it in this way. I already know how those whom I am close to feel about me. I know for a fact that my family and close friends love and appreciate me. Their actions prove it. However, it makes me happy to also hear them say to me directly, "I love and appreciate you."
2. Prayer is How We Make Requests to the Lord: In other words, prayer is how we ask God for things, but allow me elaborate on this point. Today, I understand the importance of spiritual blessings (e.g., ability to love, ability to forgive, more patience, the ability to be used by the Lord, a better understanding of the Word of God, and so on). However, I was not always that way. As I grew spiritually over the last few years, the way I prayed drastically changed. I accepted the fact that it was not all about me and that the real priority was God and doing His work. With that stated, I made certain that when I asked God for something, I had every intention to use that "something" in a way to give back to and glorify Him. A great example of this is when Hannah asked God for a son. Hannah was barren and she desperately wanted a child. When she prayed, she told the Lord that if He granted her request, she would give him (her son) back to God, and Samuel became a faithful servant of the Lord at an early age. (See 1 Samuel 1:11.)
3. Prayer is How We Build a Relationship with God: The more I communicate with a person and the more time I spend with a person, the more familiar I become with that individual. We establish a bond. Establishing and developing an intimate relationship with the Lord is of utmost importance. It is paramount to our spiritual and emotional health, and let us be honest, the world can be very unkind at times. To know that you have the Lord on your side and that you can freely run to Him when you are emotionally and mentally exhausted is very comforting.
How Should We Pray?
How should I pray? I have been asked this by many of my readers. Matthew 6:9–13 is an excellent example of how we should pray. Some key components of this passage are as follows: 1) acknowledgment of our Lord for who He is and 2) request that His will be done in all aspects.
We begin by acknowledging the Lord. We ask that His will (not our will) be done. We ask Him to meet our needs. We ask Him to forgive us for our sins, and we ask Him for spiritual strength to resist the enemy (Satan). To memorize and quote this passage verbatim is great. Many people do this. I quote these verses verbatim at times! But please understand that Matthew 6:9–13 serves as more of a guide or a model of prayer for Christians. What I am saying is that this passage does not mean our prayers should only entail what is found in these Scriptures. There is so much more we can and should include when we talk to God. See below for further explanation.
1. Remember Your Purpose and Your Spiritual Needs: When I pray, I ask the Lord to help me with my shortcomings, to continuously search my heart and remove anything that is not like Him, to help me to love others, to help me to forgive, to show me what my gifts are and to use me as He sees fit, to meet all of my spiritual needs, and of course, to provide for me.
2. Be Selfless and Remember to Pray for Others: I also make certain I pray for others because I understand that I am not the only one in need of something. Also remember that a selfless prayer moves God. Let us take into consideration Solomon. In the beginning, Solomon had the right motives. In 1 Kings 3:5–14, we read that God instructs Solomon to ask for whatever he wants, and He (the Lord) promises to give it to him. Solomon did not ask for riches or fame. Rather, he asked the Lord to bless him with an understanding heart to judge His people (the children of Israel) and for discernment between good and evil. The Lord was so pleased with Solomon's selfless petition that He granted his request plus riches and honor.
3. Do Not Overthink It: I also wish to emphasize (as I always do) to not become so "caught up" in your wording. Allow the Holy Spirit to take control. (See Romans 8:26.) Remain humble and honest with God. (See Luke 18:10–14), and remain sincere. God will know what you are trying to say.
Scripture(s) to read and reflect on:
1 Thessalonians 5:17
- 1 Samuel 1:11
- Matthew 6:9–13
- 1 Kings 3:5–14
- Romans 8:26
- Luke 18:10–14
- Ephesians 6:18
- James 5:16
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Positivity Inspires is an author, speaker, servant of the Lord, and founder of Positivity Inspires, LLC. She is the author of Words of Spiritual Encouragement and Inspiration: Volume 1, available now on Amazon. Visit her website at www.positivityinspires.com.