Cathy Sims shares from her personal experience of prayer.
We don’t have to always pray long prayers or follow a specific pattern for prayer. If you are not in the habit of spending a lot of time in prayer—you won’t instantly have a lot to talk about with the Lord! Don’t get so worried about praying in a correct fashion that you lose sight of what prayer is—communication with God. So, start praying with short prayers to the Lord—don’t have an agenda—just talk to Him about all that is on your heart and then take the time to listen to what He is telling you in your spirit (you won’t hear an audible voice). If you don’t hear or see Him answering your prayers—don’t get discouraged. God is usually working behind the scenes.
Never forget what an honor God has given us—the God who created the universe allows us to go before His throne with any and everything that we want to talk with Him about. This King never refuses His subjects. We are told in 1 Thess. 5:17 to “pray without ceasing,” because we need to be in constant communication with God. Prayer is the only place where we can be completely open and honest about our thoughts, our doubts and our fears. There is no point in trying to fool God, because He knows the truth whether we vocalize it or not!
If there is something that you have been praying about for a long time and it doesn’t seem as though God is ever going to answer your prayer (the way you want Him to). Don’t give up. Jesus told us:
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).
John Ankerberg says, “Our problem is not that God is distant; our problem is that we often give up before we hear His response to our situation.”
A good parent doesn’t always give their child what they want. Children who are given everything they want by their parents often become very selfish—they start to believe that they are the center of the universe and they get a false sense of entitlement. Since God is the perfect Father, He doesn’t always give us what we want, when we want it.
James 4:3 tells us: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
How many of our prayers are asking God for what we want, instead of what we need to glorify God? I have often heard people say as they look back in retrospect to the prayers that they prayed when they were young—they were so glad that God didn’t say “Yes” to those prayers! God doesn’t always give us what we want, but He gives us what we need to grow in our relationship with Him.
Give everything you are dealing with to God in prayer. Sometimes I have been asking the Lord to give me the words and the timing to confront a person about something, and God surprises me by handling the situation without my ever having to say anything to them. Let me repeat this—the most important thing for us to do is to pray—not worry about what we need to say—but allow God to use us in any way He wants.
You will be encouraged if you pray God’s Word back to Him. As you read the Bible, look at the specific prayers and promises that are in it. You will find that the Bible has all of the answers to everything that we encounter in this life. One of my favorite passages is Phil. 4:6-7:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I find great comfort in knowing that when I am worried (anxious), if I give my concerns to God in prayer, earnestly asking Him to intervene, He will give me His peace. We can also see how God worked through the prayers of others in the Bible. God often teaches us life’s lessons through other people.
It is also a good idea to have a specific place where you regularly pray. Of course you can pray at any time in any place, but it helps to have a place that you usually pray (where you won’t be distracted).
When you love someone you want to know their thoughts and everything about them. God wants us to be connected with Him. The more time we spend with Him, the better we will get to know Him. He created us and wants to use and guide us in this life through prayer and His Word.