by LESLIE SPEAS
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Does anyone else struggle with how best to pray? I sure do. My biggest struggle is praying out loud with a group. I don’t think I’m the only one because there is always that question with a church group, “Would anyone like to close us in prayer?”. Usually, crickets. But there are some people that pray so eloquently that you’d think they must have a Ph.D. in prayer and make you feel even less adequate.
Not only do I struggle with praying out loud, but I also struggle with individual prayer. My mind is all over the place when I pray and often goes down a rabbit hole and I lose focus. Other times I try to correct myself because I feel that my prayers are out of order. Or I think that I need to be in a “prayer position” to pray properly. I’m not sure why we tend to get so ritualistic about prayer. The reality is that prayer doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be a simple approach and be just as, if not more, effective.
A Simple Way to Pray
I believe that we tend to overcomplicate prayer.. As I said above, we can use a simple approach which can be pared down as follows:
- Wow – praising Him
- Thanks – showing gratitude
- Forgive – forgive me for my sins
- Help – help with my needs
- Please – please help my friend/family member
“The fewer the words, the better the prayer,” said Martin Luther. This reassures us that we can talk to God in everyday language, just like we talk to a friend. My favorite is just “Help!”.
5 Strategies to Help with Prayer
- Read your book of faith and ask yourself questions like –
Is there something here I should be thankful for?
Is there something here that names a sin I should ask forgiveness for?
Am I struggling with something this passage talks about and need to ask for strength?
Is someone I know struggling with something in this passage?
- Stop praying and start talking
Approach faith as a friend. Engage throughout the day with short messages, inviting faith to share in your life as you go through your daily activities. Just like our close relationships are maintained by spending time together, so is our relationship with faith.
- Use a Prayer or Gratitude Journal
Make notes about what you will address in prayer or what you are grateful for.
- Take some deep breaths to prepare
Do some breathing exercises before you pray to get centered and calm your mind.
- Remember that the Holy Spirit will help guide you!
Romans 8:26 provides some wonderful encouragement about prayer. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with prayers that words cannot express”.
Prayer is our opportunity to spend time with God and develop a deeper relationship with him. It also opens the door for God to work in our lives. Let’s keep it simple and try not to overcomplicate it. I think the result will be a richer prayer life and an enhanced understanding of the heart of God.
- Do you sometimes struggle with prayer?
- What has helped you when you have been at your best in your prayer life?
- What will you do to improve your prayer life going forward?