How should I pray? And why? If God already knows everything, and He has a perfect plan, why should I bother?
Nobody has all these answers, but God does. Thankfully, He’s revealed much through His Word. So join me, and let’s explore the how’s — and why’s — of prayer.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Simply put, prayer is talking with God. There are many different kinds of prayer, but it’s always a conversation. This means you’re not only speaking but listening too!
There’s a human tendency to always be in “speaking mode”. But that’s not very nice for the listener, whether he’s God or anyone else. And although it doesn’t come as naturally in prayer, leaving space for God’s response — on the receiving end — makes communication possible.
Relationship is your Heavenly Father’s priority. He wants to spend time with you. Which leads into the next point . . .
WHY SHOULD I PRAY?
Do you already have a relationship with God (salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ)?
If you answered yes, then it’s kind of rude not to pray! Sorry to be so blunt. 🙄
It’s true that God gives good gifts, even when you don’t ask. That’s amazing grace! And, it’s easy to take the Almighty One for granted, because you can’t see Him — at least not with your physical eyes. But don’t ignore God. Don’t sin against grace. He deserves your time more than anyone else.
Here are just a few reasons to grow your prayer life:
1. You’re a child of God!
When you surrendered your life to God and received forgiveness for your sins, you became His child.
And now, even though your Heavenly Father knows your needs, He still longs for sweet fellowship. So, climb onto God’s lap. Throw your arms around His neck. Then ask for stuff — like dinner ideas, comfort for friends, and wisdom for disciplining your children. Nothing is too common or trivial.
Let’s go deeper . . .
2. Your relationship with God is more important than the thing you’re asking for!
Every trial you face — every need you long for — it’s not the main thing. Your relationship with God is the main thing.
Life, with all its ups and downs, is all about your faith!
Truly, God permits certain hardships to come your way with the purpose of:
- pressing you closer to His heart,
- growing your depth of dependency upon Him, and
- strengthening your faith.
These things are all about relationship.
3. You’ll store up treasures in heaven!
If you respond to trials by running to God (rather than away from Him), life’s struggles will bring about eternal rewards.
That’s right! Treasure in heaven is the fruit that comes from responding to your hardships with spiritual maturity (Matthew 6:31-34).
So, dear friend, I implore you — choose communion with God as your highest aim. It is the practice of the presence of God. Forsake all else for the:
- intimacy of talking with Him,
- safety of submitting to His will,
- freedom of trusting His love for you!
None of these things come without prayer.
Prayer makes you available to God — it’s a conduit through which He can conform you, day by day, to the likeness of His Son.
HOW SHOULD I PRAY?
1. Don’t stop!
God’s Word puts it this way in First Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Does this seem impossible? I mean, how can you be talking to God — or even intentionally listening to Him — every second of every hour of your day?
There are so many other tasks that demand your attention!
Take heart. Although you can’t always offer the words of prayer, you can sustain an attitude of prayer.
How so? By allowing your heart to remain / abide in God’s presence. Foster this Divine focus by sending short thoughts — prayers — to your Heavenly Father. Frequently!
Check in with Him whenever you have an extra minute or two. This can be as easy as: “Hi, Father God! Thanks that You see everything that’s going on with me right now. Please give me strength and wisdom. I love You, and I trust You!”
And don’t let up. Keep pressing closer to God through prayer. If you believe what you’re praying meets with God’s approval (see the heading about Praying in Jesus’ Name), persevere. ♥️🙏
2. Be authentic.
Be real. It’s the intention of your heart that matters.
Don’t look for a certain way of phrasing things. It’s not the quality — or quantity — of your words that gets Father God’s attention. He’s drawn to your genuine desire for honest communication.
3. Reject Pride. Embrace Humility.
What’s the opposite of humility? Pride. And what are the consequences of pride — as a long term attitude?
Separation from God: either momentarily or eternally.
It follows then, that pride might be the worst sin of all.
Conversely, humility, must be pursued as the chiefest of virtues. It is, in fact, linked inseparably with love.
So, if you’re seeking communion with God — be humble! The alternative, which I’ll discuss next, is both dark and destructive.
i. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit — a Heart Hardened Through Pride
Jesus says, in Mark’s gospel (chapter 3, verse 28):
I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.
This was Jesus’ response to the religious leaders who dared attribute His miracle-working powers to demons! Ultimately, rejecting the Holy Spirit — and crediting Divine power to Satan — is the worst sin of all. A heart so hardened that it calls the Holy Spirit — “an evil spirit” — has completely rejected salvation.
Why? Because it’s the Holy Spirit’s tugging on your heart that makes salvation possible. If you reject Him, you reject salvation.
In truth, every other sin can be forgiven. But, as the Bible states:
“How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
ii. Falling Back into Pride — the Believer who Sins
Well, what if you’re already saved? You’ve humbly repented and surrendered your life to Jesus. Can pride still become an issue?
Yes, sadly. And though you may not lose your salvation, re-setting yourself on the throne and following your own fleshly heart can reap devastating results — for both you and others. Pride keeps you from fellowship with God — even when you are saved.
And, pride takes many forms. Regardless how innocuous — and even celebrated — the following attitudes are, pride disguised is still laden with trouble.
Do any of these seem familiar? This list certainly helps keep my spirit in check. Beware the specter of pride, exalting itself in:
- Your own abilities. (Like trusting your strength instead of God’s.)
- Personal accomplishments.
- Self-righteousness. (No need for a Savior here.)
- Intelligence. (Worldly wisdom, apart from Christ, is foolishness to God. — 1 Corinthians 3:18-20).
The bottom line is this: pride keeps sinners in slavery — in its shackles, salvation is impossible. And once saved, it must still be slain — on the regular!
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” — (Proverbs 3:34)
HOW SHOULD I PRAY? SEEKING GOD THE FATHER — IN JESUS’ NAME
What does this mean, exactly? For example, I’m sure you’ve heard people pray out loud, adding the phrase: in Jesus’ name after their request. The author of Through the Veil gives insight here:
To speak in the name of someone is to deliver your message as if the person in whose name you come is delivering the message himself. Thus, to pray in Jesus’ name is to bring your petitions to the Father as if Jesus himself were asking.
I highly recommend this little booklet. It is available on Amazon by clicking the picture below.
Through the Veil — Experiencing God in Person, documents Luke’s vivid and intensely personal vision from God. He offers the clearest explanation of praying in Jesus’ name that I’ve found thus far. Continuing:
“There are many profound implications here, especially that —
- you can trust that the Father will hear your prayers as if the Son himself were asking; and that
- you had better check yourself to be sure you are requesting something that Jesus himself would be requesting, and not something from your own selfish desire.”
To recap, this asking is most effective when done in Christ — as a born-again believer. Once you are His child, God promises to respond to your prayers. You may have to wait a while, but He will answer.
To the contrary, the LORD of Hosts makes no such promises to the children of wrath (in whose company I once found myself).
It’s time to make the transition from darkness to light . . .
HOW SHOULD I PRAY? — SALVATION
God is SO gracious. He is not deaf to your prayers — even if you ignore His offer of salvation.
However, God does not promise to answer your prayers if you reject the One He sent to pay for your sins.
You see, without the redemption of Jesus’ blood — and His atoning death for your sins — you cannot have a relationship with God.
God’s Gift to You
God is both loving and holy.
In His love, He provides the gift of salvation — at great personal cost to Himself.
What then does God require of you?
You must respond:
- Surrender your life to Jesus, and
- Receive the gift of salvation.
Anything less is a rejection of God’s love.
So why waste another moment? Embrace the good news!
Once you turn from following your own way, God adopts you into His family! Instead of seeing you as you once were — in sin — He sees you now in Christ — cleansed and clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.
IN CONCLUSION — HOW SHOULD I PRAY?
This article is by no means comprehensive. In fact, part two can be found by following this link: What Should I Pray For?
Here’s a brief summary thus far, regarding why you should pray:
Pray because you love God. If you’re born again, He is your Heavenly Father. He delights to bless you — His beloved child.
Pray because there can be no relationship without communication. And be sure to set aside time to listen — whether that’s meditating on God’s Word, or sitting in silence. Both offer God space to speak to you.
Pray because spending time with God is priceless. You become like those with whom you fellowship. Allow the LORD to make you more like Jesus. In the process, you will store up treasures in heaven — crowns to cast at His feet one heavenly day. (Revelation 4:10) 👑✝️♥️
IN CONCLUSION — WHY SHOULD I PRAY?
And how should you pray? In humility and authenticity. Unceasingly — with an eternal attitude — now and forevermore.
Does this sound like a lot? Don’t despair — what is impossible with humans is possible with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep the eyes of your heart forever focused on the Father’s face.
Lastly of all, reject pride. Embrace humility! And God will draw near to you.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful! As always, I welcome your questions and comments below. And prayer requests too!
Blessings, Ali 😊