There are right and wrong ways to approach and ask God just like there are right and wrong ways to approach other human beings. Prayer isn’t for selfish desires. Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is just as much listening as it is speaking. We do much more speaking than we do listening. I need more silence in my life, not just for the sake of silence but to be able to hear God.
So how do we pray?
Scripture gives us examples of prayer as well as what we should and should not do in prayer. We also have commands to forgive before we pray. We are to pray in solitude and in secret.
Jesus ‘ greatest example of prayer is perhaps what we call, The Lord’s Prayer. It’s a staple prayer for us to learn and pray. It’s found in Matthew 6 or Luke 11.
God knows our hearts, our thoughts and our desires. There’s no escaping an omnipresent God. I always thought it strange so many people ask God to be with this person or that person when God is omnipresent! Perhaps we should shift our prayers to asking for God’s will to be done in a person’s life instead of asking God to be with them. God is already with us.
One thing I know is God loves us, each and every one, regardless of our sloppy prayers. God longs to hear from us, spend time with us and connect to us. This is done in prayer. We can pour out ourselves to God in prayer. It’s appropriate to share even our raw emotions with God. It’s right to ask God for help. It’s fine to ask for our daily bread and for forgiveness. It’s awesome to take part in praying someone into God’s family. These things are all things God wants.
We err in praying for revenge, for riches or for a certain someone to fall in love with us. These are all examples of prayers that are inappropriate. I’m guilty of all these in my younger years. Now instead of praying for revenge I hand that person over to God and ask God to act in their life. Instead of praying for riches I thank God for what I have. And that last one? Do we really think God will control another person and make them fall in love with us?
Let’s spend some time thinking more about how we pray. Let’s be intentional. Do I have to wonder if God wants me to pray for someone to come to faith? No, God always wants this. Some things should always be in our minds to pray. God desires to bless us, but many times these blessings aren’t exactly what we had in mind!