How do I pray? Where do I start? What do I say?
I’ve asked myself these questions a thousand times. When my heart is overwhelmed, I jump right to the demands …
- “God, guide me in this decision making process.”
- “Lord, help me not to be so anxious and worried!”
- “Father, keep my husband and my children safe.”
Request after request pours forth out of a heart exploding with wants and needs. My mind continues to reel as I spit off one thing after the other as if I’m checking items off a grocery list.
Did I forget anything?
And although I am satisfied to have exhausted every request before the throne room of God, I am found wanting because my soul has not experienced intimacy with my Creator.
If prayer is supposed to be easy, why does it seem so hard? And why does it feel like a chore I have to get done (like grocery shopping) and not a conversation with the God who knows me?
James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Our prayers can reach heaven and change earth. In order to do that, we have to know where to start.
Dear Heavenly Father …
Jesus gave His disciples an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:9. He started with this …
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …”
The Lexham English Bible words it this way:
“Our Father who is in heaven, may your name be treated as holy.”
For many religious people, this entire prayer has become something to repeat instead of a guide to follow. Today, we are going to use it as a guide on where to start and how to pray.
First, Jesus uses the word “Father”. The Greek Father most likely translates the Aramaic Abba, meaning intimacy and closeness with God.
We must start our prayer by recognizing who we are praying to.
We pray to the one who is more than a god sitting on a throne. He is our Father, our Abba (daddy), who is intimately acquainted with all our ways. We take our needs before a Father who knows every hair on our heads and knows our thoughts afar off.
We bow ourselves before Him in reverence of who He is, what He’s done, and what He can accomplish in our lives. Starting with this knowledge means praying with confidence that He can do what we ask of Him.
Hallowed be Your name …
Do you pray with confidence in the God who is your Father?
Once we establish who we’re praying to we are on our way. Jesus started with acknowledging God as Father, and moved into praise. This shows where we start and how we pray, yet this can be the hardest part of prayer.
If you’re like me and often skip straight to the requests, thanksgiving and praise becomes an afterthought or no thought at all. But thanksgiving is the foundation of our prayers. Thanksgiving helps us remember what God has done and reinforces confidence in what He will do. (Don’t worry, my 5 prayers of thanks and gratitude will help you. FREE download is below).
Jesus gives praise when He says, “Hallowed be your name.”
A name refers to one’s person, character and authority. Hallow means to treat as holy or to show reverence. We should seek to pray like Jesus prayed, not merely what Jesus prayed.
When we are in an attitude of praise and reverence for the One who is above all, our prayers will be powerful and effective.
What do I say?
Now that we’ve established who we’re talking to and bowing in reverence to the Father, we begin by pouring out thanksgiving.
The following is 5 prayers of thanks and gratitude. You can begin your own prayers with these prayers of thanks, begin your day with them, and meditate on each verse as you discipline your mind to stay in an attitude of appreciation for the God who hears your prayers.
Starting prayer with the attitude of thankfulness propels the rest of our prayers forward, and out of a heart of gratitude, our prayers become effectual and avail much.
If knowing who God is is the foundation of our prayers, thanksgiving is the frame in which the rest of our prayers are built on.
We must start with who God is and what He’s done before we get into what we need Him to do. Once you’ve dedicated your week to gratitude and thanksgiving, it will become natural for you to integrate thanksgiving into your prayers from here on out.
Now that we’ve discovered where to start, how to pray and what to say, the rest is up to you. Continue your conversation with the Father and witness your connection become stronger, your love go deeper, and your perspective clearer.
You can do this and I cannot wait to hear how it’s changed your prayer time! Download your FREE resource, 5 prayers of thanks and gratitude, along with the 5 day challenge below.