Webster defines prayer as “an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought” (merriam-webster.com). So, prayer is talking to God either audibly or in your mind. Seems simple enough, so why is it such a struggle for so many people? One of the most common things I hear from people who are struggling to get their prayer life going is that they don’t know what to say. Today’s verses give us help in that area:
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:26-28 (NLT)
I love knowing that the Holy Spirit is praying for me as I pray, adding depth and breadth to my prayers. How amazing is that?!
There are several acronyms that you may be familiar with that can help frame our prayers. ACTS is one that I grew up with (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication) but our staff learned one recently in the Prayer Course with Pete Greig (prayercourse.org) that I really love. It uses the word PRAY as an acronym and helps to guide your time with God.
P stands for pause. Begin your prayer time by sitting silently before God for a couple of minutes. Take a minute to recognize God’s holiness and awesomeness.
R stands for rejoice. This could be done by reading a Psalm that reflects how amazing God is (Psalm 8 is a great one for this) or, if you have time, listen to a song that reminds you of God’s love.
A stands for ask. Ask God for what you need for yourself and for others.
Y stands for yield. Allow time for God to speak to you as you sit quietly in His presence.
I love the simplicity of this and how it draws me into a conversation with God. God wants to know what’s on your heart, and He wants you to know what’s on His. Prayer may feel awkward in the beginning, but I promise, the more you do it, the more you will want to do it. Prayer has the power to change us.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach