How much do you pray?
And what do your prayers consist of?
There's a popular reminder of how to pray, called JOY - Jesus, Others, Yourself. It means praise Jesus first, then pray for others, then pray for your own needs. That's helpful, but I feel like it's missing a lot and is also putting a legalistic spin on our prayers. We're committing to some sort of formula and feeling trapped in a box instead of freely, boldly coming before the throne of God. (Hebrews 4:16)
We need to praise God in our prayers, YES - but even more than that, I think it's important to first confess our sins. Psalm 66:18 says if we regard iniquity in our heart, the Lord won't hear us. So if there's anything going on in your life or heart that is sin and stands between you and God, confess. Repent. Let Jesus take care of it and then pray with open communication. Wow, what a blessing that we get that opportunity! :)
So confess. And praise. Remember, God wants us to seek Him as the giver more than His gifts. Because of our flesh it's easy to get caught up in assaulting the heavens with requests and not giving more than a passing moment to HIM. God is a jealous God. He yearns for us - we matter to Him. Just as women yearn for the affection of their husbands, just as parents enjoy the attention of their children, just as men crave acceptance and respect - God yearns for us. Our time. Affection. Energy. Heart. Soul. Thoughts.
Don't deprive Him, dear reader.
Confess. Praise. And make your petitions known. For yourself, for your family, for your friends. For the church prayer list. For whatever is on your heart. Wherever the Spirit prompts you.
Sometimes, we don't know what to pray, and God understands that. In fact, He gets that so intimately He addressed it in His word.
Check it out - Romans 8: 25-27 says, "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 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 through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."
THANK GOD FOR THAT! Sincerely. Truly. What would we do without that intercession? Wow.
How do you pray? How often? And what do you need to change in your prayer life? Remember, prayer is not this organized, specific thing that you're going to mess up. It's simply talking to Jesus like you would a friend.
Except, this Friend knows your mind and heart. So you might as well get it all out anyway ;)