When I was a little girl, I would pray all the time, and looking back, I remember how absolutely real prayer was for me and in my life. I talked to God a lot growing up; so much so, that I had a whole notebook full of little prayers that I’d write to Him. I would write things like “God, thank you for letting mom make my favorite dinner tonight. It was really good,” or “I’m sorry for being mean to my sister. God, please help me to share my toys better and help her to know which ones are mine and which are hers.” Such a silly concept, I know! And though these prayers are not as deep as mine are today, there is such a sweet innocence when hearing a child pray like that. And at times, I wish I could go back to that child like faith.
Prayer is an intimate and heartfelt conversation between us and the Lord. Imagine how it can be compared to having a best friend or a significant other (boyfriend, spouse). You want to talk to them all the time, right? About good things and the bad things, about the things you love about them and the things they’ve done to hurt you. About how your day went, what you want your future to look like, or even a weird dream you had the night before. Well, this is similar to how prayer should be for us. We should come to Him in all circumstances and pour ourselves out to Him. It should not be a religious ritual or something done out of obligation, but our hearts should be sincere, yearning to talk to Him.
You may have heard the title of my blog before because I have too. From what I can recall, this layout of prayer was based on the passage in Matthew when Jesus lays out to His disciples how we should pray (Read Matthew 6:5-15). I remember going over the concept of P.R.A.Y. when I was in youth group growing up and I thought it would tie in beautifully to this blog topic and I wanted to really dive deeper into something that isn’t just a cute little acrostic poem.
P~ Praise: Praise who He is and thank Him for all that He has done, not just in our lives but for what He’s blessed humanity with. ~Hebrews 13:15~ “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly praise His name.”
R~ Repent: Repent of the sins that we have committed and for the way we have neglected His commands. ~Acts 3:19~ “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
A~ Ask: Ask for the needs of others with sincerity and bring your needs to Him. ~Mark 11:24~ “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and it will be yours.”
Y~ Yield: Yield your will to His and submit your desires, plans, and agenda to God so He may fulfill His plans for you. ~Proverbs 3:5-6~ “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight.”
I do want to remind you that prayer does not have to look exactly like this every time you pray. He knows how we are feeling and what we are going through, and yet, He desires that relational communication between you and Him. If you devote time out of your day to prayer, you will find that your heart will crave more of Him and the Holy Spirit will become evident to you. If you’re angry, tell Him. Happy? Tell Him. If you need something or really want something, voice that to Him. It is vital for believers to be fighting the battle against the enemy on our knees, deeply devoted to prayer. And believe me, I do not even come close to always praying for those who have wronged me or persecute me or who have deeply hurt me. I know how hard it is. God knows how hard it is for us, but remember that when we pray for a gentle and forgiving spirit, you will find that through trials, the Lord will give you the tools and strength you need in order to genuinely pray for others in this way. Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He hears your cry and listens to your prayers.
Please remember in times that it seems like God isn’t listening, He is. There have been numerous seasons in my life when my heart is absolutely broken and shattered and I fall on my hands and knees, crying before the Lord, begging Him to make the pain stop. And it becomes discouraging when you don’t immediately hear from the Lord or have something change that you aren’t comfortable or happy with. But let me tell you something, God may be silent for a time, but He is never absent. He is moving things and working things out for your benefit, (Romans 8:28), and one day you can look back, as I did, and thank Him for the trials because He brought such beauty from the pain. As quoted from the amazing movie God’s Not Dead 2, Grace Wesley: “Recently when I’ve been praying, it’s like Jesus isn’t letting me feel His presence. Usually I can almost reach out and touch Him but… but right now it’s like… it’s like He’s a million miles away.” Walter Wesley: “Honey, you of all people should realize when you’re going through something really hard, the teacher is always quiet during the test. ” He does hear and He is there.
I challenge whomever is reading this to set down your phone, turn off your computer, put away your tablet, and pray. Open the lines of communication with the one who knows and made our hearts. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7. Pray with sincerity. Pray in every circumstance. God bless you all!