Prayer is not a self-help monologue to make one feel more spiritual. Rather, prayer is a conversation between yourself and the omnipresent God of the universe. What is very important about this conversation is that it is a conversation started by God, not us. It is true that we speak to God in prayer and He hears us and answers us (just read 1 Kings 18 to see that focus). However, our prayers are never the starting point of the conversation. We pray, because we’ve heard God speak to us in His Word. He has revealed Himself to us, so we praise Him in prayer. He has given us His commandments, so we confess our sins to Him. He has promised grace, care, and provision, so we bring our supplications to Him in prayer. We speak to God, because He spoke to us.
Here then is a guide to pray. Read a portion of God’s word, and
- praise Him for the statements,
- confess disobedience to the commands,
- request grace for obedience to the commands,
- plead for renewed thinking in line with the principles and insights,
- thank Him for His gifts,
- ask of Him the fulfillment of the promises.
Here is an example.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
“Our Heavenly Father, thank you for raising me with Christ and not leaving me in my sins. Please help me to seek the things where Jesus Christ is – right in your presence. Help me fix my mind so it is more heavenly minded and less consumed with the things of this world. Correct my thinking to see myself as dead to this world, and alive in Christ. Thank you for the hope I have of Jesus’ appearing. Thank you that I will then be with Him in glory. Amen.”