A Plain Language Thought from the Window
Maybe a most simple point needs to be declared:
Prayer is a conversation between you and God.
This is not about special words or lofty ambitions ... it's talk, simple, and only effective if you are honest in the effort.
For someone who is just entering into a faith based relationship with God, this is new behavior. The occasion for praying may at first even seem awkward and carries the question: "Is He listening? Does He answer prayer?"
Longtime believers who have prayed for years will tell you about answers to prayer. That might be assuring, but the real inner working to prayer is you talking to Him. Personal, one-on-one, and something you can do ... day, night, walking, resting, with others, alone, any place, every place, consciously in an engaged and purposeful practice.
If reality is He is, then prayer is something that should come as a natural extension of relating to the One who is always there, with us, at every moment of every day.
You don't always need to be asking for something, so here's a basic point that works every time ... pray for those things that are God's will. This is a measure of agreement. Praying for results that would be entirely consistent with who He is, is a measure of our aligning ourselves with Him. This is a win-win proposition.
There are those individuals who pray with words that come out of Scripture. This tends to sound eloquent and proper and even (is) inspired at times. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, this is sound practice. But to someone new to prayer, the use scriptural words may seem intimidating. Don't let it be. Prayer can be you talking to Him with what ever words that come. The focus on Him and talking out your life's path with Him are key.
Prayer Basics (A How To):
There are a few things to focus on when praying. Keep these in mind and you'll have a sense of foundation, purpose, and even progress in building your relationship with God.
1) Praise, Magnification, and Thanksgiving
2) Confession and Admission
3) Use Scripture in prayer
4) Intercession and Petitioning
5) Watching and Waiting
Okay, this web page is a very brief presentation, so here are a few words to elaborate on these five points.
First, praising God, magnifying His presence in your life, and stating to Him those things for which you are thankful all go to honoring God.
Start a prayer by telling Him you praise Him for the great things you see in life. Just thanking Him for being alive is pretty simple, but that's how easy it is to touch on what is so important. In time, you'll be praising and thanking for responses to prayers. Sometimes even thanking for the inherent wisdom in answers that bring unexpected results.
Second, personal humility brings us back to our nature as flesh and blood beings. In the biblical sense, we struggle in the flesh, because that is where life has us at present. It won't always be that way, but for now, when dealing with life's ups and downs, we need to be mindful of faith, morality, and confessing and admitting to our errors (yes, that's confessing to sins committed; it's always possible to happen no matter how hard we try not to). This puts us in a place of submission to God. He's the 'Big Dude', LORD over all, and He gets it right all the time. We don't, but trials in life are part of a larger process leading to an eternal relationship with Him.
Third, as you read and learn about what Scripture teaches, we can pull what we learn into our thoughts and express that in prayer. At first you may be intrigued by parables, the struggles of early Israel, or what prophecy has to say about future events. As time passes and familiarity with Scripture grows, the concepts in the Bible reveal God's will and to pray for His will is finding a place of agreement with Him.
Fourth, intercession and petitioning is the warrior's work. Here you can be specific about something. Intercession is praying for others, for a healing, or for God to respond to meet a specific need. Petitioning is asking God for something. Again, if the desired end result is something within God's will, then you are on firm ground in praying such a request.
Finally, fifth, since prayer is like a dialog where we speak and then listen, sometimes a fair amount of time is required to see a response.
We can think about what separates us from God. In some ways it's time. Time to live out life's challenges and growing pains. Time to seek and see the wisdom in why believing He is there is the only real option to understanding why life is what it is.
Time at the window is the opportunity to see how it all works. Prayer is the proactive response to the invitation to having a relationship with God. Answered prayers is confirmation that the relationship is real and unanswered prayers just take more time before a response comes.
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