It’s one of the key components to an effective life as a Christian.
Yet most Christians either only pray when they want something, or many who call themselves Christians simply babble in nonsense sounds and assume that constitutes prayer.
One of my jokes during a sermon was that the only way to get some Baptists to pray was put food in front of them. We laugh because its funny, and we laugh because it’s true.
Prayer is not “Earthly license for heavenly interference”, as one televangelist put it.
Prayer is an act of worship.
Let’s let that sink in for a minute.
Prayer is an act of worship. Bible study and devotional reading also are acts of worship.
But prayer is worship in a different way.
To have a relationship with God, you need to pray. If you don’t pray, you don’t have much of a relationship with God.
So let’s look at how to begin to change this.
Tim Laheye liked to diagram prayer sessions as “ACTS – Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication.” I personally like CATS better!
I think that confession should come at the beginning – if you’ve got unconfessed sin and unrepentant sin, God does not hear your prayers until you take care of that. I think that should be actually taken care of first.
The adoration section of prayer should be fairly lengthy. About 30% of your prayer time really should go into this part. If you’ve set aside 5 minutes of prayer, that would mean almost 2 minutes should be on this.
How do we work on this? Read the Psalms. A good portion of Psalms is the psalms of glory, where David magnifies the Lord for the length of the Psalm. “The mountains skipped like Rams”, “You who set the seasons in order” “You who set the boundaries of the seas…” “Who ordained the stars…”
We can learn a lot from this. Consider praying at first those Psalms. Then use some of that formula as a blueprint. Think about the Glory of God. The Majesty of God. The Forgiveness of God. The Mercy of God. God as our father. God as the righteous judge.
These are ways to start for now.
Thanksgiving – try thanking god for salvation! Try thanking God you are alive! Try thanking God that He is merciful!
If you really dwell on God’s attributes, there’s a lot of things to thank God for. Remember when a group of men came to Jesus Christ and asked to be healed, and the Lord healed them, only ONE came and thanked Him. And Jesus Christ said something about it!
Hint number one: That’s God’s way of saying he wants more than just Credit – He wants thanks as well.
The last ingredient – supplication… that part I don’t need to tell you about! WE all beg God for a million things. “Lord, can I have an Atari 2600?” What we don’t know is sometimes God answers us with, “In five years, you’re going to just throw it away because you’re bored with it.” Everyone knows how to ask for things, so I don’t have to explain how this part works!
Prayer should be a regular part of the Christian life. Learn how to adore God and thank God, and not just ask for things!