BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO PRAY
When I was a freshman in college, I was in a discipleship group consisting of six guys, five UT freshman students and our discipleship leader, a godly man in his late 40s. At the end of our weekly meetings, we would always close in prayer with each of us praying. I was nervous when it came time for me to pray. Know why? Because I didn't really know what to say. I was a fairly new Christian and this thing called prayer (especially public prayer) was not easy to do. I ran out of things to pray for after 60 seconds.
Have you ever struggled with prayer? Have you ever bowed your head, bowed your knees, and shot all your prayer bullets in less than a minute or two? Have you ever heard about people praying for hours and secretly wondered how in the world do they do that?
How can you go to the next level in prayer? How can you become a person of prayer who really connects with God and sees Him answer?
TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF
In those early days in that discipleship group, I never felt like my prayers were eloquent enough. I somehow got the erroneous idea that to "really" pray, I had to sound like William Shakespeare. It was so freeing to learn that God is not impressed with my eloquence or disappointed in my lack of eloquence. He simply wants to hear me pray humbly and reverently from the heart. He wants me to share openly and honestly with Him. He wants me to tell Him what is going on in my life, what I am struggling with, what I am afraid of, and where I need His help - "Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us" (Psalm 62:8).
Remember, God is not watching the clock when we pray. He is not saying, "You know, I would have answered that prayer if you had gone another 45 seconds." Don't get too hung up in the time issue. Talk to God like you would talk to a best friend. That is what He is, "a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24).
PRAY THE WORD
God loves His Word. If you want to know the will of God, read His Word. The will of God is found in the Word of God. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us that we can be confident that God will answer prayers according to His will. So, if you will simply pray Scripture back to God, you can be assured that He will answer that type of prayer.
A good place to go for prayers in the Bible is Psalms. David was known as "a man after God's own heart." He has LOTS of honest, humble, heartfelt prayers in Psalms that you can claim for your own and pray them back to God.
My friend, prayer is not given to us to be torturous and a source of guilt and condemnation. It is given by God to connect us to Him. The King over the universe longs to hear from little old you and me. WOW!
The Bible tells us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The way you do that is to call on God as soon as you wake up in the morning and never hang up the phone. Talk to Him all throughout the day. Share your every trial and every triumph with Him. It makes all the difference in the world and will draw your heart close to the King.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.