What is prayer? Why should one pray? & What does prayer do?
-Communication with God
-Communion with God
-Listening to the Holy Spirit
-Transformation of religion into relationship
-Heartbeat of spiritual living
-Adoration for God
-Confession of sin
-Receiving of grace
-Exercise and responsibility of faith
-Drawing near to God
-Recognizing God’s love for you
-Attunes God to you and you to God.
-Supplication for others and self
-Truth sharing and truth seeking
-Jesus prayed and taught others to pray.
-Peace…and so much more.
Posture often taken during prayer:
- Standing – 1 Sam. 1:26, Matthew 6:5, Mark 11:25, Luke 18:11
- Kneeling, to express humility or servitude – 1 Kings 8:54, 2 Chron. 6:13, Ezra 9:5, Psalm 95:6.
- Prostrate – Joshua 7:6, 1 Kings 18:42, Neh. 8:6.
- Lifting hands: – Psalm 134:2, Psalm 63:4, 1 Timothy 2:1-8
- Hands folded – Not Biblical; first recorded in 9th century – gesture of submission.
- Bowed head – shows humility
- Eyes Closed – shut out distractions
- Blessing – speaking words of God’s blessing on people.
- Confession – telling God about where you have failed him and about the sins you have committed, and asking for forgiveness.
- Contemplation – listening to God and enjoying his presence, usually in meditation and silence
- Desolation – crying out in despair, pain, and the knowledge that there is no place else to turn but God.
- Intercession – praying specifically on behalf of other people
- Petition – asking God to do something for you or for others.
- Praise – expressing how great God is.
- Thankfulness – looking at what God has done for you and thanking him for it.
- Transformation – committing to change for, among other things, surrender to God’s service, release of what troubles you, and forgiveness toward others.
Guides to Prayer:
The secret of praying is praying. Try some of these guides to help keep you focused and grow your conversation with God.
A.C.T.S: (Spend time on each of the categories of A.C.T.S. as you pray.)
Adoration – worship or honor God as God. Giving God “credit” for being God.
Confession – Being real with God and admitting to sin. Asking and accepting forgiveness.
Thanksgiving – Seeing God at work in your life and the life of others and offering thanks.
Supplication – asking humbly and earnestly for your concerns and for the concerns of others.
Expounding: (Expounding is taking a known prayer, usually a familiar one, and adding to it.)
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. (God you are wonderful and holy…)
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. (Let me live in your will here on earth…)
Give us this day our daily bread. (Thank you for the many blessings of life. You know our needs…)
And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. (I’ve messed up and…)
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. (Keep me from my temptations…)
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. (Everything is yours…
Just like ripples in the water, start with a center point of focus or topic and work your way outward. For example, if you want to pray for your family. Start with yourself, then move outward with others such as your spouse, kids, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Or maybe you want to pray for work…start with yourself, immediate co-workers, larger team, mangers, support staff, administrative staff, operating officers, investors, etc.
Choose something that you encounter in your day-to-day life that will “trigger” you to pray. Examples: phone ringing, bell at school, four way stop, sirens from an emergency vehicle, someone’s cell phone ringing or beeping, certain word you might see often such as exit or one way. When you are triggered to pray take a moment and pray about whatever is on your mind. Triggers are not a guide to prayer, but a way of prompting yourself to always be in prayer.
Keep Praying! (These are few ideas to help make prayer a regular part of your daily life.)
- Journal – Use one page a day to write down your prayers.
- Prayer List – Listing prayers helps keep focus on prayer.
- Prayer Time – Make a specific time (and place) to pray.
- Meditate – Use meditation to clear “space” in your prayer time for God to speak.
- Partner – Find someone to pray with or someone to hold you accountable to praying.
- Team – Ask several people to be praying for you as you commit to growing in prayer.