I’ve never considered myself an expert on prayer.
For example, one time at a youth camp students were invited to come forward and pray at the altar.
As a student wanting to connect with God through prayer I stepped up and found a place to pray.
After a few moments I felt relaxed and rested; I was totally at peace.
Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder. “Andy, Andy…” there was an urgency in the hushed whisper that woke me.
I wiped the drool from my mouth as my eyes struggled to adjust to the bright lights.
Yup, I had fallen asleep at the altar. All the other students had left. After 45 minutes, the leaders wondered where I was.
When they came back to the camp chapel I was still “praying” at the altar.
My credentials in the area of prayer are not impeccable, but I have picked up a few helpful pointers over the years.
Here are a few ways to get started praying now:
1. Start Small
Don’t feel some weird pressure to pray for hours on end to make God happy. If prayer is simply communication with your Dad in Heaven then start out simple.
Prayers like, “I need you God,” or “Thanks,” are great places to start.
2. Stop Talking
Another mistake people make when praying is being a conversation hog. How do you feel when you’re in a conversation and the person you’re talking with goes on and on, never allowing you to get a word in?
Prayer is a two-way street. Talk. Listen. Repeat.
Want to be really bold? Try praying without saying a word. Allow God to speak to your spirit. Remember, He uses a still small voice.
3. Be Thankful
God knows you have needs. In fact the Bible says He knows your needs before you even ask. Next time you pray take time to thank Him for what He’s already blessed you with.
You can make a list throughout your day. Whenever you think of another blessing write it down. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Thank him as you compile your list.
4. Use Your Bible
There are countless great faith-filled promises in scripture. The book of Psalms is full of them. Instead of trying to come up with your own original prayers read through the scriptures and pray them.
It’s not prayer plagiarism. Those scriptures are there for a reason. Use ‘em.
This one is most helpful to me. I have difficulty concentrating when I try to pray without a pen and paper (or laptop) nearby.
Use the S.O.A.P. method.
S-cripture – pick a verse that stands out to you
O-bservation – what is God communicating through it
A-pplication – how does it apply to your everyday life?
P-rayer – ask God to help you
Like I said at the top of this post, I’m not a prayer expert. I hope these simple tips help you.
The most important thing is to get started NOW.
God would love to talk with you, so don’t forget to listen.