You have probably prayed at some point during your lifetime. Perhaps when money was short, or a loved one faced a debilitating disease or was in an accident, or when life just wasn’t working the way you had expected it. In moments of tragedy, pain, loss or fear, many people find prayer is a natural thing to do – even before they chose to follow Jesus.
You were designed by God to pray. He placed that desire in your heart so He could have relationship with you. Prayer is simply talking with Him. If you want to develop your relationship with Jesus, you will want to engage in prayer throughout your day.
A human analogy works well to explain this point. A good father wants to talk to and have relationship with his children—he wants to know them and he wants them to know him! In fact, it brings Him great joy to listen to and talk with His children. God, your Heavenly Father, has that same kind of desire to know you and talk with you. He loves you and He loves to hear your voice.
Prayer is a conversation with God. You have a standing invitation to talk with your Heavenly Father. He is always with you and through the presence of the Holy Spirit, He lives inside of you. It doesn’t get any closer than that! (See John 14:12-31.) Prayer is sharing your desires, fears, hopes and dreams (for yourself and for others) and asking God to help and guide you and others through every aspect of life.
As you go about your day, you can ask God to lead and guide you, to show you His perspective and to share His wisdom so you make good choices. Prayer is also thanking Him for all of the good things that happen and for His Presence in the middle of the difficult moments in life. Finally, prayer is also an expression of your adoration and love for God. In the Bible this is called “worship”. It is the response of your heart when you know you are fully and completely loved and forgiven.
Jesus’ disciples noticed how important Jesus’ prayer life was. It was a priority for Him. He consistently went off by Himself to pray. (Look at these Scriptures that tell us about Jesus’ life of prayer: Mark 6:46, Mark 12:32-38, Luke 5:16, Luke 21:31- 32, John 17.) The disciples were so drawn to Jesus’ prayer life that they asked Him to teach them to pray. Jesus answered their question by saying, “when you pray” not “if you pray” (Matthew 6:5-7 and Luke 11:1-2). He wants us to talk with Him and He expects us to talk to Him.
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He gave us a model for our praises. It is written out in phrases on the next page.
You may have heard this prayer before, but take a few minutes and write out what you think each phrase means. It will help you understand how God wants you to pray. If you get stuck, ask some other followers of Christ what they think a phrase means.
For an introduction to prayer and praise, watch this message from Pastor Greg on the topic