How to Pray: A Beginner’s Guide
by Pastor Jim Stilwell
Prayer, in its very simplest form, is talking to God. You can spend 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes or more with God. The key is to have a regular practice. You can bow your head, close your eyes, lift your hands, or fold them in your lap. Find a quiet moment in your favorite place and talk to God.
You first want to prepare your heart. You could simply say, “I open my heart to you Lord and to your glorious Presence.”
Here is a simple structure for your prayers we call A.C.T.S.
(1 Chronicles 29:11). Praise God for who he is. Tell him how much you love him and reflect on His greatness. Worship and praise God with your heart mind and voice.
You could say several times “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the earth is full of your glory. (Isaiah 6:3)
(1 John 1:4-9) Confess to God your known and unknown sins. Ask God to purify ALL your unrighteousness. It is amazing how much better I feel when I pray for God to purify my heart. When you pray that prayer, be sure to let go of those things that you confessed and have felt guilt or shame of, because God has forgiven you. Hebrews 8:12 says, “ I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”
Psalm 51:10-13 is another great scripture on purifying your heart. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
You can also ask God to search your heart and to see if there is anything in my heart that is not of you and wait to see how God responds (Psalm 139:23-24).
Ephesians 5:20 tells us to “always give thanks for everything…” Express your gratitude to God. Try to think of specific things that you are grateful for. Thank him for his goodness and for his steadfast love. Thank him for the many blessings that he has given you in your life, the protection, the provision, the doors that he as opened and closed and for the many opportunities he has given you.
Psalm 100:4-5 says “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
(Matthew 7:7) This is the part of the prayer where you ask God earnestly and humbly your petitions for yourself, for others, or for anything that God puts on your heart. You can be narrow within just your sphere of influence or as wide as missionaries, world issues, or specific issues that you are passionate about. This part is very powerful because you can intercede for something or someone who can’t intercede for themselves or don’t know how. This is also a place that God will put someone or something on your heart for you to lift up. I am amazed when I ask God for him to put on my heart something he wants me to pray for, how many things or people just pop into my heart and mind.
Please remember that you are talking to the creator of the Universe, His love is great, His power is unlimited. Take time to just take that in before you go about your day.
Grace and Peace to you,
Comments or questions? Email Pastor Jim