"God, I want this year to be different," was my prayer to him as I sat in the van with my noisy youth group. We were going up to Austin Texas for the annual New Year’s bash. I always knew that he heard me, but I didn’t always hear him. I wanted to begin the New Year with a solid resolution to listen to him more, to deepen my relationship with God. But did I really understand what prayer was? I needed to learn how to pray.
1. Q: What is prayer?
A. Prayer is talking with God.
Prayer is just talking to God. Just like you would talk to your best friend. You wouldn’t go up to your best friend and say, "Oh dear, ----, would thou wish to go to a movie with thee?" would you? No! You’d probably walk up and say, "Hey, ---, wanna go to a movie tonight or something?" Talk to him. He’ll listen
2. Q: Does he hear me?
A: Of course!
God is never too busy to listen to any prayer. Even if it’s the tiniest thing like, "God, could you help me find this needle? I dropped it." Stuff like that matters to him. And he’s all-powerful, which means that he can do anything. He can do stuff from helping you find that needle, to healing your mom or dad from cancer. He’s that big.
Do you pray? Do you know how to pray? Do you that you can pray about anything?
3. Q: Will he answer me?
A: He’ll answer you. It may not be the answer that you want, but he’ll let you know what he thinks.
God hears every prayer. He answers every prayer too. No, he might not answer right away, but it’ll come. Just never give up your faith in him because he doesn’t answer something right away. It may take a long time, but it’s on it’s way.
Prayer is something that takes time to develop. When you first start, you may feel as though you have nothing to talk about. Think. Think through your week. Think about your friends, could they possibly have anything that they need prayer for? Pray for your relationships, for a good week, that you’ll see your dog in Heaven. Anything.
Remember, though, that God is not a genie in a lamp. He’s not going to grant your every wish. God’s probably not going to give you the answer that you want to the prayer, "God, can you give me that new CD I saw at the store? I’m dying for it!". But he’ll probably listen to the prayer, "God, I’ve noticed that Ally’s been acting really sad lately. Whatever’s going on in her life, please heal her."
Begin this year with a solid resolution to deepen or start a prayer life with him.
How do I pray?
When Jesus is talking about prayer (Mat. 6:5-15), he says that you shouldn’t pray just so other people can hear you pray. Otherwise, you’re kinda bragging about how great you are in God’s eyes, and that’s not good. Instead, Jesus tells us to go in our room (or wherever you can find peace), shut the door, and just start talking to him. And if you’re in the car, auditioning for a play, or taking a test, you can pray there, too. You don’t have to say anything out loud, you don’t have to fold your hands or get down on one knee. You don’t have to bow your head or even close your eyes! If you were talking to your best friend, would you get down on your knees? Probably not. That’s a sign of respect to God, but if you’re somewhere where you don’t feel comfortable closing your eyes or whatever, God understands. Remember, your best friend can hear you just find whether your head is bowed or not.
Please, please, please!
Read Mat. 7:7-11. You might’ve heard this before ("ask, seek, knock" ringing a bell?). It says that if you ask, God will always answer, though he might not say yes, he might not say no. But keep asking, because that’s called faith. Believe. You know he can do it. But don’t pray like this: "Dear God, please help the kids at church to be really jealous of my new shoes." I’ll bet God won’t say yes to that! (Oh, and the "ask, seek, knock" method probably won’t work with your parents.)
More to read: Mat. 26:41, Mat. 21:22, 1 Thes. 5:17, Jude 1:20-21, 1 Cor. 7:5, James 5:13-18. Take the time to read these through. Remember to savor God’s word. These verses are great and related to prayer and this bible study.
So, this month, really work on how you’re praying. Are you staring at the ceiling, wondering if anyone’s listening? Or are you really talking to God, telling him how you feel, as if he was your best friend?