Finding Connection: How to Pray to God
In a fast-paced world filled with endless distractions and demands, finding peace and meaningful connection can be a source of immense comfort and guidance. The act of prayer is how we, as Christians, are designed to make this connection. Prayer is essential to the Christian lifestyle because we are created by God with purpose - created specifically for prayer which is the powerful and transformative practice that sustains and develops us as Christians. In this blog post, we will explore the art of prayer and offer a guide on how to pray to God.
Find a Space: To begin your prayer time, find a quiet and peaceful space where you can fully focus without interruptions. This space can be indoors or outdoors, wherever you feel most comfortable and free from distractions. Sometimes finding a space means you have to consider the time of day - for instance, getting up before the rest of your household may provide the peaceful quiet you seek to spend time with God each day. Some people dedicate a space at home just for prayer like a prayer garden or a prayer room that can be as small as a closet. These dedicated spaces can allow you to leave notes for God and post prayers on the walls.
Reflection, Focus, and Contemplation: Preparing yourself to pray is as important as the act of praying. Before you begin, take a moment to reflect on your reasons for praying. Breathe in and think, what do you seek, hope, or need from this connection with God? Breathe out with the answer. Breathe in and out as many times as it as takes to focus yourself. Focus to set clear intentions will help you connect your thoughts and emotions during your prayer. Contemplate that you will be sitting with God, your Heavenly Father, your Creator! How awesome! Contemplate that He will be hearing you and pleased that you have chosen to be with Him. Anticipate the feelings of joy, peace, hope and enduring love that will wash over you as you experience His presence and faithfulness.
Start with Gratitude: God is so happy you are spending time with Him. This is not a formal talk, it is a sweet and loving conversation like you would have with your own child. There is no wrong way to pray - just begin. There is, however, a way to begin that will help you form habits for daily prayer and time spent with God. Expressing gratitude and praising God for the blessings and experiences in your life is a great place to start. When you begin with recognition and appreciation for the good things that have come your way, no matter how big or small, you are showing Him you are grateful. Gratitude is a powerful way to open your heart to God.
Speak from the Heart: When praying to God, authenticity is key. Remember, your prayer time with God is not a formal conversation so relax, breathe, take your time, and speak to Him from your heart, honestly and openly. Share your hopes, fears, dreams, and worries. Ask for help, support, protection, and results using exact words - be specific with God. Though God is all-knowing and already knows the desires of your heart - be as clear and specific as you can when asking Him for help, answers, and outcomes. Your Heavenly Father is a compassionate God who welcomes your heart-felt prayers and vulnerability.
Be Still and Listen: Prayer isn't just about talking; it's also about listening. Take time to be still and listen for God to respond - sometimes this happens through His reminding you of something you already know that you can't remember in the moment because you may be clouded by worry. Sometimes God's response will come through your spouse or your child. Sometimes, God will literally lean into you and whisper into your ear words you have never heard or considered. Allowing yourself quiet moments of reflection in prayer and outside of prayer time, is how to settle your mind and thoughts so you can hear Him in all these different ways.
Seek and Use Scripture: The Christian faith is based solely on God's word and the example of His Son, Jesus Christ. God's word and the teachings of Jesus are found in the scriptures of the Holy Bible. Whether you are praying for something specific from God or are asking Him to build you according to His will, you can find and use scripture in the Bible to guide and form your prayers. If you find one, two, or more scriptures that fit your need, incorporate them into your prayers. Ask God questions about scripture, ask Him for clarity when His wisdom is hard for you to understand or if you are struggling to becoming new according to His word. We can know scripture but understanding it, and more so, following it without faltering can be difficult. Do not worry though, God understands that we are becoming new through Him and that it takes practice and asking questions. Scripture is a huge source of inspiration and guidance and when we dedicate them to memory they act as a kind friend who shows up just in time with the answer in our moments of need.
Pray, Wait, Trust: Be patient and trust in the timing of your prayers and trust in the timing of God's plan for you. God may answer your prayers in unexpected ways, and sometimes the answer may be "no" or "not now." Trust that there is a divine plan at work for you and joyfully accept and declare that your will is to be in the flow of His Will. While you wait on God, pursue each day with a joyful, hopeful, expectant, and loving heart - and pray daily. Seeing all that right in the world through the lens which He created for you will sustain you. Ask for God to build in you patience and self-control as you wait and trust that He hears you and that He is always working on your behalf. God's plan is perfect, His timing is perfect, and know that we could not create outcomes for ourselves that are greater than what God has instore for us! Trust in knowing God's faithfulness never fails!
Praying to God is a deeply personal and transformative experience. It is essential to our design - a way to seek guidance, find peace, and connect with what truly defines us and our purpose. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to prayer, so find what works best for you, grow in your practice over time, and experience the joy of having a relationship with your Heavenly Father. Whether you're seeking strength, guidance, or simply a moment of peace, prayer is your direct connection with God.
Have Peace and Be Love!