We all know how powerful prayer is. My husband and I are living testimonies how prayers get answered - one after the other. Even if my prayer life has not been well-defined. Yes, I would pray but I wish I pray the way my other Christian friends do.
I was raised a Catholic and praying for me would be always be holding a rosary and reciting the traditional prayer such as "Our Father" and "Hail Mary." I memorized a number of other prayers and these would automatically come out of my mouth when praying time arrives. And that was what I know about praying.
I was introduced to a different kind of praying when I joined a women's small group. Wow, those women really know what to say, and that's how I want to talk to God.
So how do I pray? I talk to God like I would be talking to a best friend. I would pour out my heart to him. I'd often do that when I am alone. Or when I feel scared.
I have a confession. Praying out loud terrifies me. I am often at a loss for words. My mind just goes blank. Or I would be so touched I'd end up crying and couldn't speak. I guess I had been used to praying on my own. And when I hear how my small group mates and even my own husband pray, it had become a source of insecurity. How did they get that good?
Thankfully, the Small Change book has tips to help me develop my prayer life.
Step 1: Do it! It has to start somewhere, right? Just pray. Now.
Step 2: Do it badly. Reading this is such a relief. Yes, I can stutter, use incorrect grammar, use Taglish. Remember, no prayer is ever done badly when the heart is right. He loves me no matter how badly I pray at first.
Step 3: Do it regularly. You want to make a habit out of praying do it daily. And not when we only need something from God. When I do it regularly, I won't pray so bad at all and the awkwardness and fear would disappear.
Step 4: Do it faithfully. Now how is this different with praying regularly? You would want to pray not because you have gotten used to it but because you see praying as an essential part of your spiritual life.
Step 5: Do it for life. Praying should be synonymous to breathing. You can't live without breathing, therefore pray for as long as you live.
How to pray? Jesus taught us how to in the Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:2).
Prayer is personal -
9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Prayer acknowledges God's authority -
10your kingdom come,
Prayer acknowledges your trust -
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer indicates your dependence -
11Give us today our daily bread.12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Prayer entreats God's guidance -
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
-- from Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
For today, I will set aside five minutes to pray today. I will put this in my schedule for today as well as with a list of things I want to talk to God about.
For tomorrow, I will revive my prayer journal where I will keep a record of my prayer concerns - what and who I want to pray for the day. I'd need to leave room on my journal and take note when God answers my prayers.
For this week, I will continue to pray for the people and issues on my prayer journal.
For next week, I will increase the amount of time I have set aside for praying.