Prayer in its simplest form is a conversation between yourself and God. However, many women find it intimidating to pray. What is it about prayer that makes some of us feel so ill at ease? For some, it’s determining the appropriate posture, others struggle with what to say and/or how to say it, and many women wonder just how long their prayer should be. If prayer has served as a source of intimidation for you, it is my prayer that this post will help to put your mind at ease.
Posturing for Prayer
Let’s begin with posture. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or kneeling is insignificant. Praying in a position that is comfortable for you, is what is important. This is key because you want to be able to focus on your conversation with God and not on pain resulting from being in an uncomfortable position. So, sit, stand, or kneel, whatever works for you. We have been conditioned to pray with our eyes closed and for me personally it helps me to block everything out and focus, but if you prefer to keep your eyes open then do so
What to Say/How to Say/How Long to Say
Many erroneously believe that their prayer must be formal, filled with thees and thous or “big” words. God is not impressed with our vocabulary or lack thereof, formality, or marathon prayers. Matthew 6:7(NLT) confirms this: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words”. What He does want is honesty and sincerity; Simply talk to Him in your normal voice and tone openly.
Prayer need not be an act that causes you to feel intimidated or awkward. Close your eyes or leave them open, take a deep breath, and let your words flow out. Talk to your heavenly Father as you would to your best friend and when you’re done don’t forget to take the time to listen for any words He may have for you.
My midweek motivation comes from a quote posted in one of my Facebook groups: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s we would gladly grab ours back”. This is a reminder to us that no matter what we’re going through or what our current situation is, there is always someone else whose situation is much worse.
Personally, I am a solution seeker, who tries to focus on resolving the problem instead of focusing on the problem itself. After all, no issue is fixed by simply dwelling on it. For me the process of problem solving begins with praying, then waiting, listening, and acting. A prayer for guidance, waiting on His direction, listening for and to His voice in whatever form it comes, and then acting accordingly.
The poster of the quote mentioned above issued a challenge to the group: no complaining about a single thing for 24 hours. I accepted this challenge and will write about how it went in my next blog post.
Will you accept the challenge too?
How do I need to pray? Boldly and confidently: “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”
Hebrews 4:16 AMP
When do I need to pray? All the time: “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP
“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”
Ephesians 6:18 AMP
Why do I need to pray? For answers and solutions to all situations and problems, for healing/deliverance, protection/covering: “Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”
James 5:16 AMP
Many of us shy away from prayer because we find it intimidating. We cower at the thought of approaching “the throne;” we’re not sure of what to say or how to say it, if there are certain words we should use, if we should keep it short and to the point or elaborate, if there is a certain praying position we should use, and what we should do afterwards. Just relax and keep it simple. The main requirement is sincerity.
As is with most things, “practice makes perfect,” so it is with prayer. I have an acrostic that outlines how simple prayer can be:
The main ingredient for change is that there must first be a revelation that there is a need for change. A solution is preceded by a problem. If one doesn’t perceive a problem then one does not seek a solution.
Next, a desire for change is necessary. Even with a revelation of a need for change, a person who does not wish to change will not change, plain and simple. This desire needs to come from within because forced, shamed, or guilted change will not last.
Behind that desire to change, you need motivation in the mix. For some, simply wanting to be a better person is enough to motivate change. Other factors might be more extrinsic such as health(physical, spiritual, mental, and/or emotional) or salvaging a relationship. Motivation is a key ingredient because it is what will keep the person on track when the process of change becomes overwhelming.
The fourth ingredient is a plan. You know the saying “if you fail to plan, plan to fail”. What does change look like? What steps will be taken? are questions that need to be addressed.
The recipe completer is implementing the plan. Rolling the revelation, desire, motivation, and plan into action.
Knowing that you need change, having the desire to change, being motivated to change, and having a plan for change equates to nothing, without as Iyanla Vanzant would say, “doing the work”. “You’ve got to do the work”.
**I would be amiss if I failed to say, in this recipe for change, prayer is the binder.**
In the game of poker and in life, sometimes you are dealt a good hand and other times a bad one. In both cases, your control over your hand is limited. Like wise in both the card game and in life you have the option to fold.
Folding in the game of poker means “to lay down your cards and stop playing the hand. You are out. You give it up.” (poker.about.com). In life we can lay down or surrender our lives to Christ, giving up our old life for a new one in Him.. In Matthew 11:28 He beckons us to Him “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.
James 4:10 encourages us to “humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you”.
2 Corinthians 5:17 lets us know that we can be dealt a new hand/ a new life “therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away; behold, new things have come”.
There is an old country song by Kenny Rogers whose lyrics relate to the game of poker and to life: “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run”. You must know when to hold onto your cards, when to put your hand down, when to walk away from the poker table, and when to run from it. Accordingly, you must know when to hold onto your life, when it’s time to surrender it, and when it’s time to walk away from certain situations and/or people and run to Christ.
One of the main channels of communication between God and us is prayer. Prayer in its simplest form is talking to God and waiting for his response. The Bible encourages us to “pray without ceasing”(1Thessalonians 5:17), illustrates the benefits of prayer, and even gives a model for prayer(Matt 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4).
Sometimes when we are reading scriptures, certain words and phrases will jump out at us or we are led to a particular verse that we need at that time. Often times a scripture that we have read numerous times before, will be illuminated, taking on new meaning.This is another way that God communicates with us, through His word. “ Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.” “That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely onto every good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV).
Throughout the Bible God used profits to convey messages to his people. Biblical prophets received messages from God, for the people, that were intended to serve as warnings, correction, and or encouragement. They were also given visions that were to be used to help prepare them for future events that would occur. Prophecy is not dead today, God still uses pastors, ministers, and other men and women of God to carry messages to His people today.
The holy spirit is a fourth conduit of communication. Sometimes this occurs through an overwhelming feeling of conviction or guilt when we are about say or do the wrong thing or make the wrong choice. Other times it’s the opposite and we receive a strong prompting from Him to say or do something that we need to. This feeling is more than just a little nudge. It’s a push that penetrates your mind, body, and spirit, so there is no mistaking that it is Him.
God uses multiple means to communicate with us; however, it is not the way he communicates with us that is of importance, but rather that we hear his voice, listen to it, and obey.