Prayer is the means of communication we use to speak to God. It is absolutely essential to our spiritual life, which is why we keep repeating the importance of indulging in it daily. But how can we explain the difficulties some Christians have in leading a regular and satisfying life of prayer? Here are 10 key points that will help you better understand prayer and avoid preconceptions about it!
10 things Christians need to understand about prayer
1. Prayer is not just for perfect people
This may be obvious to you, but many still struggle to understand it. Indeed, how many Christians hide behind the “I have sinned” to avoid prayer? If one had to be perfect and absolved of all sin to address God, believe it or not, no one would have the ability to pray. When we are in a relationship with a person and want to talk to him, it does not mean that we are perfect or necessarily worthy of doing it; far from it!
It is the same with God: we have the possibility of presenting ourselves to Him in our condition of the sinner. It is even essential for Him to forgive our faults and transform our nature. You don’t need to feel that you “deserve” to pray because the truth is that we don’t deserve anything, not even God, to answer our requests.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; and they are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24)
2. Honesty, truth and sincerity are the keys
Honesty, truth, sincerity must cement our relationships, whether family, professional, friendly, romantic, or spiritual! God searches the depths of our hearts and knows what lies deep within us. So why not play the card of transparency with Him? Is there any point in claiming or appearing before this God who knows us better than we know ourselves? If there is one person before whom we must expose ourselves, it is the Lord. Have you sinned? Tell Him. Have you strayed from His ways? Tell Him. Don’t like to pray or are ashamed to come before Him? Tell Him!
“But the hour is coming, and it has already come, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for these are the worshipers whom the Father requires.” (John 4:23)
3. Don’t try to judge your own prayer
“My prayer was zero”: is this a sentence that you have already said? Have you ever felt like you “prayed wrong”? To come out of a moment spent in the company of God that left you hungry and plunged you into a deep feeling of dissatisfaction? Many Christians are in this situation.
They don’t even give God time to speak or respond to their request, which they already feel hasn’t been up to it. The truth is that they pose as judges and feel that they have the right to judge whether their prayer is acceptable or not. Now, isn’t this a divine prerogative? Just as we are not allowed to judge the prayer of others, neither are we allowed to condemn our own prayers.
4. Use language that is your own
When you talk to God, be yourself. Don’t try to borrow that pastor’s language or that brother’s or sister’s expression.
Present yourself to the Lord with reverence and use correct and respectful language. There is no need to use 16th-century expressions, scholarly theological words, or strong language. The important thing is that you can express yourself freely and put into words what you feel deep inside.
5. Pray your own way
Don’t let anyone strictly tell you how to pray. Prayer is not recitation. It must remain free, inspired, and improvised. It is a dialogue with God, not a speech before Him. Some like to use the Our Father, others the ACRS method (adoration, confession, thanks, supplications). It is a pattern of prayer that it is quite possible to adopt, but nothing prevents us from praying in a completely different way. Good prayer is prayer led by the Holy Spirit!
6. Your way of praying is bound to evolve over time
The way you pray today is not the way you will pray tomorrow. Thus, your way of expressing yourself before the Lord should not be a source of concern. The more you grow with Him and gain maturity, the more your way of speaking to Him evolves. By spending time in prayer, we learn to become truly at ease and to find our words.
7. Changing the way we pray is a good thing
Finding prayer habits and adopting a kind of “spiritual routine” has its good sides. But there is a risk: repeating things mechanically. This is why it is very important to vary one’s prayer once our prayer times are part of a certain regularity. For example, you can sing your prayer instead of just saying it. If you want to dance, do it. If it is your heart to pray while going around your house, do not deprive yourself of it. Let yourself be led by the Spirit who constantly renews our habits.
8. No topic is taboo in prayer
Please feel free to pray for anything that comes to your heart. Before the Lord, no topic should be taboo. If you wish to pray for your s3x life, feel free to do so. Don’t let anyone convince you that you don’t have the opportunity to lay out all your requests before the Heavenly Father. If you dare not ask your questions in front of men, must you also restrict yourself in front of God?
9. You don’t need a third party to pray
Except in the case of group prayer within a church or any other gathering, prayer is exclusively for two people: you and God. You don’t need a ministry, priest, pastor, leader, sister, or brother to come to the feet of the Master. Christ remains the only intermediary. It is to Him that you must address your prayers and to no one else. You don’t need a man or a woman to confess your sins either. Your prayers have value and are just as effective as that of a servant of God.
“For there is one God, and there is also one mediator between God and men: one man, Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 2:5)
10. Your prayer life is up to you
By reading Matthew 6, we understand that the way the Pharisees prayed and the reasons that led them to do so were not the right ones. Their only interest was to appear spiritual and religious before men, so Jesus called them hypocrites.
If we don’t want the Lord to label us like that, we must understand that there are things to expose and others not to reveal. Our prayer life should not be on display for all to see. We can certainly evangelize, edify and encourage our brothers and sisters without boasting about the duration of our prayers, their frequency, or the formulas we have used to address ourselves to God.
Can you imagine posting a Facebook post in which you explain how much time you spent with your spouse, the topic of each of your conversations, the surprises you prepared for him…? This will probably seem ridiculous to you because these are things that only concern your relationship. Well, it’s the same with God. What is of the order of spiritual intimacy must remain secret!
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who like to pray to stand in synagogues and on street corners, to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they receive their reward. But when you pray, enter your room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is there in the secret place; and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
There is no magic recipe for spending quality time with God and praying well. The important thing is to be true, sincere, and present ourselves before Christ with an open heart.