How To Pray
Find a Time and Place . . .
You can pray anywhere at anytime. There is not one time that is better than another. In fact, we are told in the Bible we should pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Sadly, many of us end up not praying at all, which is why it is best to set aside a time and place that you will dedicate time to pray.
Listen Before You Speak . . .
For some people, setting aside time to be alone with God is intimidating. One important thing to learn early on about prayer is that it truly is a conversation. Just as God really does speak to us in his word, he is also really listening when we pray. It may just feel like journaling out loud at times, but there is always someone on the other side of prayer. Read something from the Bible (even just a verse) before you pray. Those words from God are “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Prioritize The Spiritual Over The Circumstantial . . .
Life is mainly about unseen realities. At the end of each day, what matters most happens at the spiritual and emotional level, not the physical and circumstantial. We should spend as much time praying for our souls, for the salvation of our loved ones, for the spread of the gospel, and for the establishment of God’s glory and his kingdom as we pray about anything. Those prayers shouldn’t be tacked on to the end of our “real” needs. They are our deepest and most enduring needs.
Identify Your Prayer Circles . . .
Pray outward in " circles", beginning with your own soul, then for our families, then for our small group and our church, then for our nation, and lastly for the nations, especially the unreached in the world. You may not get to each "ring" every time, but the circles lead you as you pray each day. The rings should not keep us from praying for the random stranger we met yesterday. They’re just meant to keep the consistent people in our life consistently before us in prayer. If prayer is the most important thing we can do for someone, shouldn’t we structure our schedules to do that for the most important people in our lives?
Ask Whatever You Wish — Literally Anything . . .
If we’re honest, many of us lack courage and imagination in our prayer lives. We have a tiny little box of routine things we’re willing to ask God for, and we take on everything else — our questions, our frustrations, our dreams — on our own. We assume God’s not interested in or doesn’t have time for the small details of our day. We wait to pray about something until it becomes “serious enough” for God to care about, and we don’t pray for something unless we expect him to do something in the next 24 hours. And so we deprive ourselves of his mercy and power in massive areas of our life and world. God cares about everything in your heart and life, down to the very smallest things. Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything” — your random conversation with that friend, your sleep tonight, this month’s budget — “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Anything and everything, every day. Don’t be afraid to pray big prayers, and small ones. God may not answer the way we want or in the time frame we want, but be assured He cares and desires to help you know Him more through every part of your life.
-adapted from DesiringGod.org - Author Marshall Segal