Learning to Pray is Learning to Say- “God I Need You”

PrayerI have three boys.

Their ages are 13 (almost 14), 9 (almost 10) and 3.

Obviously they are each at very different stages of their lives.

Every day it feels like new challenges arise, new fruitless (and sinful) worries are stirred up, and new ideas & solutions are needed to resolve them.

The pull of a Godless culture batters them from every direction, constantly trying to trip them up and push them down a seemingly benign, misleadingly seductive path, to separate them from our Lord.

As I am still relatively early in my own walk with Christ, it’s a struggle sometimes trying to be the leader they need me to be, to help them learn of God and find their way in the darkness.

Frack, I’m still trying to find my way too!

But thankfully, God doesn’t leave us alone in the dark. He is always there for us, and His only request is that we seek Him willingly, and ask Him for what we need.

John 16:23 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.”

Seeking God’s Presence; Releasing His Power

That’s what prayer is all about!

I’ve been reading a book recently, called The Power of a Praying Parent.

In it, the author talks about engaging in prayer daily, and covering the entire lives of your children, past, present, and future, in prayer for their well-being.

He makes a powerful statement that really resonated.

He said,

“The battle for our children’s lives is waged on our knees. When we don’t pray, it’s like sitting on the sidelines watching our children in a war zone, getting shot at from every angle. When we do pray, we’re in the battle alongside them, appropriating God’s power on their behalf.”

I don’t know about you, but that brought a pretty graphic image into my head and made me realize that I really want to get a handle on this praying thing.

I do pray of course, but I’m the first to admit I could probably do it better and more often.

My prayers tend to come when I feel like I can’t handle something myself (a sin by the way, this penchant to feel we can do things all by ourselves, without God’s help), and I often wonder if I’m even doing it right.

Prayer can still be a little fumbling for me.

I can admit it! Ain’t no shame in my game. Hehe

Trying to pray old school using words like thee, thou, ye, and shall… well, frankly just makes me snicker.

I have to wonder some days if God is up there listening to all of us and laughing His arse off at our attempts to sound appropriately reverent and holy.

So my prayers often wind up as me speaking directly to God, just like I would to you, and making my requests.

Sometimes I remember to give thanks first and sometimes I wind up giving thanks after. (Not perfect remember.) But often my prayers are quick (Too quick I wonder?) and can seem a bit clunky.

C’mon, don’t front.

You know you feel a like a quack too when you first start praying. It’s like talking out loud to yourself, only instead you’re talking to a big invisible Father in the sky.

Brings new meaning to that term “Weird for God” I’ve been hearing recently.

God Doesn’t Care How You Pray- Or Does He?

Actually He does, but it’s not so much the words you use, as the intent and feeling behind them. He knows your heart, so it stands to reason you need to pray from your heart.

Sincere prayers, prayers that aren’t performed by rote, that truly seek God for His help or guidance or strength… prayers that give thanks to Him first and petition not just for yourself but more importantly for the needs of others…

He hears those prayers just fine.

Even more awesome, He responds to them.

The Word says,

James 5:16 “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Does that mean God answers every prayer you throw out there? No, it doesn’t.

Availing much doesn’t read as availing everything.

Put another way, do you give your kids every single thing they ask for?

Um… no. (I know I don’t!)

So if you look at God as your Father, it’s easy to see that sometimes He will not always give you what you ask for, and instead will give you what He feels you need.

In the grander scheme of things (which we can’t always see), it’s sometimes those unanswered prayers that become the biggest blessings of all.

The Moral of this Story

Get to praying people!

There is power in prayer.

Give God a chance to move in your life and the lives of those around you.

Invite Him to take the reins and yell giddy up on that horse!

All He wants is for you to seek Him first, and He will do the rest, whatever the rest entails.

For me, I am seeking to entrust my kids into His care; I am seeking peace and freedom from worry, and praying for His guidance and protection over my boys.

2013-02-01 16.54.25

I know He will help me keep their feet steady on the narrow road… I know He will place their steps through this confusing and sometimes terrifying natural world.

I just have to seek and ask for His help, and then step back and let Him do it.

Ultimately, I seek to entrust every corner of my life to Him, and I can only do that by making the choice every day to look for Him and get to know Him.

I have to learn to pray over everything and everyone in my life, and shore up our invisible walls against the onslaught of evil pervading this world.

Every new dawn is a step out in faith that He will keep His Word, but it’s a step I make without hesitation, because His Word promises me He will not fail me.

Moses said,

Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave or forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Over to You

You (and by you I mean “we”) have homework!

Create a master prayer list today, for each person in your life you want to pray for, whether it’s your children, your hubby/wife-y, your best friend, or that cooky neighbor down the street always grinning at the leaves when you drive by.

Outline all of the things you want to pray about for each of them, including things from the past, things in the present, and things you hope for the future.

The author of that book I mentioned above also says to be careful of superimposing your own will into your prayers, and instead say them in a way that seeks God’s will first and foremost.

You can also (if you’re feeling adventurous) delve into your Bible and search for related Scriptures to speak along with your prayers, to charge them up with even more power and intent.

The most important part of your assignment though, is to commit to praying every day.

Start small if you need to (I’m sure I will) but make the choice to do it every single day, and begin to cover every aspect of your lives in prayer that you can think of, even if there isn’t a current need yet.

You just never know when life will take a wild dip into the deep end.

Be prepared, pray daily, and you’ll swim along just fine, knowing God’s got your back.

Any questions?

Image Credit

Disclosure- The links to recommended books are affiliate links. That means I make a buck or two if you decide to purchase one. However it in no way influences my recommendation, these books are recommended entirely on their merit as a resource.