If you’re reading this, let me start by saying congratulations, you want to grow closer to God, which is an awesome desire to have in this crazy, noisy world. And, let me also encourage you by relating a truth from a pastor named Matt Chandler: “The best way to learn to pray is to just pray.” It might feel odd or possibly fruitless trying to be more intentional in prayer, but keep at it, and the awkwardness goes away over time. Now, let’s talk about how to talk to God.
Psalm 8:4 says “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” This is a statement of praise, which is always a good way to open a prayer. If you’re struggling with finding a statement of praise, do what David did. Just before this, he praises God for the beauty of the moon and stars. Often, the best way to praise Him is to look at nature or the people around you and consider the impact or beauty of those people/things. Then, thank or compliment the Creator of those people/ things in your life.
Now growing closer with God, just like in any human relationship, means growing more intimate with Him, and the key for this goal is to be vulnerable. We often think that we have to dress things up and speak nicely and neatly to God because He’s God. But, as Jefferson Bethke beautifully says, “God desires our rawness and vulnerability.” Again, just like any serious relationship, you gotta share your scars with him. Your hurts, pains, desires, and needs. Sometimes this might mean admitting that you don’t desire Him enough, or that you desire something else more than Him. So here, I just encourage you to be messily honest about brokenness and ask for His help and forgiveness with these things.
Finally, praying for others. I’ve found this to be most difficult, because I either forget others’ problems or put my own above theirs. If you’re having trouble with this part, there are two solutions. One, Try writing others’ problems down in the Notes on your phone. This is a way for holding yourself accountable, and not forgetting others’ problems. And again, don’t hold back on telling Him everything about it, because He already knows about it anyway. Or two, pray with the person right then. There’s no forgetting a problem when you address it right there on the spot. Also, people really do appreciate prayer! It’s a real way to show care in a world full of greeting card clichés.
End with Amen, which means “Let it be so.” This way, you’re expressing your confidence in surrendering your requests to God, and trusting Him to do whatever is best in that situation, AKA “letting His will be done”. So you begin with praise and end with praise through your offering of trust.
On Sundays christians all around the world gather to worship and praise God. Some people merely stand out in the crowd at church and go through the songs singing the lyrics out of habit and miss the messages hidden inside them. Many christian songs are inspired by passages in the Bible and are great avenues for prayer. Take Psalms 103 1-8 for example,
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy
For me, a lot of my prayers come from songs and are inspired by their lyrics. Today I encourage you to listen to the lyrics of the songs played at church and pray over those words. If you don’t have a church you regularly attend on Sunday I invite you to take some time out of your day to listen to a few songs and use their lyrics as a prayer. Here are some suggestions below.
When looking for a guide or some sort of way to pray, a good method is to simply use Bible verses as a starting point and adding into them to better fit what is on your heart at the time. They are often good examples for our own prayer life. Take Psalm 103 verses 8 through 12, these verses are good foundations for this practice. You can use this as your prayer for the day or find a verse that may suit your current situation better.
Lord you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. You are all powerful, You give me the air that I breathe, and the water I drink. You give me the Ground that I stand on and the roof that shelters me. Let me be mindful that your mercy is infinitely more than your anger, and you will not treat me as my sins deserve or repay me according to my sinful nature though I am attacked daily by the temptations that seek satisfaction in me committing sin, and constantly fall into the trappings of my own desires (here is where you would take a moment to confess of the sins that you struggle with), please remove me of my sin and separate me from them as far as the east is from the west. Lord use me as your servant to further your Kingdom so that others may know of your love that spans as high as the heavens are from the earth. Amen
While not always the perfect method for any situation, this way of finding a framework in scripture can alleviate the challenge of creating a prayer. Hopefully you can use this method to get a foothold as to what you want to say in your time with God.