Learning to Pray EffectivelyPrayer is a tremendous tool to the Christian believer if it is used correctly. However, too many times I sit and listen to someone giving a prayer and they go on and on repeating the same things over and over again; or they sit and tell Heavenly Father everything they want and need but not one time do they ever thank Him for what He has already given them; or they sit and recite a prayer from memory and never truly tell Him what is on their heart. This is not what prayer is supposed to be for and I understand that you can only go as far as you are taught, so that is why I will show you a pattern for your prayers that fits with what the scriptures say about prayer.
It does not matter how long you pray or how many times you repeat yourself. That is the first thing to understand. Jesus has said in Matthew 6:7 that we were not to use vain repetitions when we pray. Think about it like this, Heavenly Father is up there and He enjoys conversations with His children here on Earth, but who here enjoys hearing the same thing over and over again when we are having a conversation with our friends and family. We don't, so why would He like hearing it. The best prayer is the short prayer that is to the point, which brings me to the next issue, being thankful.
We all love to give gifts to others and watch them as their face beams from the excitement as they open it and then to see their happiness at getting something that they really needed. But if there is someone who you get gifts for or do things for who never says thanks for what you do or give them then don't you feel like they are using you in some respects? Don't you feel hurt by them because they are not showing you that they appreciate what you are doing for them? Well, God is the same way. He does so much for us every day and we tend to not say thanks to Him. It is important that we always give thanks for all of our blessings, even those that we are unaware of at the time. It shows God that we really do appreciate the things He gives us.
Many Christians believe that we ought to pray exactly as Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 6 by reciting the Lord's Prayer or some other scripted prayer. These prayers do not allow for the individual to speak to God from the heart. God made us to be different and have different desires and thoughts. We have different things to say to Him and canned prayers, as I call them, just do not allow us to be the individuals that He made us to be. God desires a conversation with His children, not a monologue. He desires us to tell him what is on our heart even if Matthew 6 tells us that he already knows what we desire. How else can He show His strength through us in our daily struggles.
One final thing about prayer. I know that sometimes we are in a hurry when we pray because we have to leave for work or there are a ton of things on our to do list and so we say a quick prayer and then we are off and running. That is ok, He understands those times, but there are others where we need to slow down a bit. When you finish praying, spend some extra time on your knees listening to see what Heavenly Father has to say to you. He loves us all as we are all His children and He wants to share things with you but if we constantly pray and run then He never gets that opportunity and we end up robbing ourselves of one of lifes simplest beauties, to hear and listen to that still small voice that is God. May God, the Father, be with your household and help you to see the great power that lies in prayer. May all your prayers be true conversations and may He bless you with that still small voice that guides and protects His own. Amen.
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About The Author: Dana has been in biblical research since the mid 1980's and has debated scholars the likes of Dr. Arthur Dewey and Dr. Jonathan Tan. He has written for publications across America on topics like the 5 crowns in the bible and a comparison of slavery in the 1800's to what the bible says about it. He can be reached at his website at http://det-enterprises.com and his blog can be subscribed to at http://www.feeds.feedburner.com/the-true-christ