A dear sister at church gave all of us ladies a prayer journal during ladies’ prayer last month. It is pink, and she affixed a Bible verse to the front of it: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)
The journal got me thinking about prayer. For the longest time, I rarely prayed because I thought I didn’t know how. When I was a child, prayers were something we memorized and repeated such as, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” When in church, we would all bow our heads at the end of service and the pastor would pray while the rest of us were silent. Even the “prayer of salvation” was often a set prayer repeated by the one seeking deliverance.
When I first came to a Pentecostal church, I was astonished. Everyone prayed aloud at the same time. Their prayers were not rote prayers from memory, but from their hearts. How did they learn to pray like this? I set out on a journey to find answers. I read books and listened to sermons on prayer and asked lots of questions.
I quickly discovered that prayer is just talking to God. But how do you talk to an all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent God? The answer is: just like you would talk to anyone else.
When babies learn to talk, they learn by listening to others. They then repeat what they hear. It can be the same with prayer. I remember listening to my grandmother pray when I was a child. I listened to the seasoned saints at church pray. I picked up words and phrases along the way. Then, I used those to put my own thoughts into sentences. In this way, I used learned verbiage in my prayers but made them my own.
Another way we learn is to read books. You can read books about prayer and even books that contain nothing but prayers. One of the best places to read prayers is the book of Psalms in the Bible. Also, one of the best prayers in the Bible is the Lord’s prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Finally, we can have help when we pray if we are filled with the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit). When we receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, God helps us to pray according to His will even when we don’t know what to pray. Romans 8:26, 27 says:
Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Our prayers don’t have to be flowery, pretty, or perfect. We can talk to God like He’s our best friend because He is. Just speak from your heart and trust the Holy Ghost to know what to say even when words fail us.