Start Praying in This Way and Become Closer to God
Sometimes the process of praying seems daunting or overwhelming. I’m a christian mental health therapist and at times my clients will ask me, “How should I pray? What should I say?” First and foremost my response is, whatever is on your heart.
I then turn to the bible. We find in Matthew 6:6, Jesus tells us but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Verses 7-8 tell us we don’t need to be too wordy because God already knows what is in our heart. Matthew 6:9 then is where we find Jesus’ example of how to pray with what is now called The Lord’s Prayer.
Matthew 7:7-8 often encourages people when searching for answers on how to pray. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. That’s great news right!? Except sometimes we ask and our prayers aren’t answered.
Matthew 6:33 gives us more information. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
All of that combined then tells us to pray for the benefit of glorifying God not for our own benefit.
There is a pastor in Omaha, Nebraska, Bart Wilkins, from Flatland Church who teaches a simplistic yet amazing prayer process. My husband and I attended the church when we lived in Omaha. I would recommend checking out one of his sermon’s online or stopping by if you are in the area! He taught an acronym for the word pray – Praise, Reflect, Ask, and Yield.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name
The praise you give God doesn’t have to be quite so formal in your own prayer. But tell Him you love Him and how amazing you think He is. Praising God first when praying helps you to focus on Him and not on yourself. Remember, the point of praying is to glorify God, worship Him, and to increase your relationship.
Your kingdom com, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Reflecting is to look at how God works in your life and in the world. Take the time to be thankful for the blessings he has provided you. Because really, not matter what is going on in your life, God has blessed you! Think about how much worse your life could be if you didn’t have God’s love.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Let us look again at Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. So when we are asking God to help us, who is it to benefit?
Give us today our daily bread is asking God for more of Him. Forgive us our debts so we can be back in alignment with Him. Lead us not into temptation so we can walk in God’s path. So when we are asking, seeking, and knocking the desire is to glorify God, worship Him, and increase your relationship with Him.
If we are asking God to help us just for the purpose of benefiting us and making our life easier, it may not happen. I say ‘may not’ because we love a God who is full of grace and blesses us even when we are undeserving. But God is also not our own personal genie! He doesn’t grant our wishes just because we desire it. And we certainly do not have control of Him. Remember the movie Aladdin? Genie was a slave. “Poof! What do you need?” Is that what we are expecting of our omnipotent and omnipresent God?
And lastly, yield. This is often the hardest part of praying. The word yield is interesting however. The synonyms are surrender, submit, and relent. We are told to to surrender, submit, and relent to God and His desires for us. Yielding in prayer is then listening and submitting to God. Some people hear God audibly. Other’s are drawn to bible verses. Still others experience signs.
And yet the word yield also means to produce or provide. So think of it this way. When we yield or surrender to God, He produces or provides blessings in our life. Remember, God loves us abundantly! Matthew 7:11b how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
I pray that this prayer process helps you to become closer to God and increases your faith to glorify Him!
For more posts on how to become closer to God, check out Start a Prayer Journal and see Amazing Growth in Your Faith and How to be Willing not Willful – Allowing God to be in Control