75% of Americans pray at least one per month, and I am one of the 55% of people in the US who pray every day1. One of my favorite things about my protestant Christian faith is that one of its founding tenants was the ability to pray directly to God, in my language of choice.
I want to share how I do it, and a perspective I hope proves helpful to you.
- Thanks: I start each morning, before I get out of bed, by saying thank you for the gifts and blessings I have been given. It brings a smile to my face as I begin to wake up. While it is easy to begin the day by checking email, the stock market or social media, I believe God wants each of us to have daily joy, and what a better way to start the day in a thankful posture. Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
- Awareness: when I pray I become aware of God’s presence. Many of us feel we are apart from God, or He isn’t here with us. My belief is God is omni-present, and if we aren’t close to God it is because it is us that drifted away. So, I try and get closer to God as I begin to pray – by moving myself into His presence. Psalm 145:18 reminds us: “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
- Hands open: I open my hands, palms up, to be ready to accept what God has for me.
- Not fancy: while I love, and am often moved by, a good prayer given by a professional, with poetic language and points that weave together, I like to keep things simple. I keep the language conversational, and try my best to be real.
- The flow: I like to follow a pattern of (1) starting with thanks, (2) move to asking blessings over people in my life, (3) confess where I have fallen short, and (4) ask for healing, or change, (5) share other things on my mind and (5) wrap up my prayer asking for God’s will to be done, knowing my outlook and needs are imperfect.
- Be Specific: I am working to become more specific and bold in my prayer, praying for things on my mind, not just huge and noble things. Prayers like ‘lead me to a perfect place to live’, or ‘guide me to the right model for my non-profit work’. Philippians 4:5-7 is a good one: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
- Make time: I believe God would like us to be in constant prayer, but personally I need a disciplined time to make it happen. I have created margins in my life, getting up earlier so I can start each day in prayer. If you can’t find a set time and place to pray each day, I have found time in the car, or waiting in line to be great times to connect with God and pray. Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
- Together: I love the idea that God and I are on a mission together. It is my job to ‘run my race’ (2 Timothy 4:7) and live my best life, but I know that I am not alone in this journey. God and I are doing this life together. Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Above all, if you don’t pray, I suggest you try. Something led you to this life lesson, so why not believe it wasn’t an accident? You don’t have to follow a bunch of rules, rather just open a conversation with God, and see what happens….
I will leave you with this thought; its my prayer for you: 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”