There are many ways to pray

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

Have you ever set aside time to pray, and then begun to pray, but found yourself spacing out or thinking about something you need to do later in the day?

I think that’s happened to most all of us. When we think about the spiritual practices of Bible reading and prayer, it seems like Bible reading is easier for people. With Bible reading, we can have a plan to read a certain part of Scripture for that day or that year, and the words are right in front of us.

But when it comes to formulating words to our prayers, we often struggle to stay focused. What are some practices that can help us develop a healthier, more focused life of prayer. Here are five of them:

  • Journal: You can do this by either putting pen to paper in a journal, or on your computer, but sometimes it helps to write out your prayers. Writing can sharpen our thoughts and our prayers to the Lord. It can help us sustain focus on Him, so that we “space out” less.
  • Have a “track to run on”: It helps in our praying to know where we are going. Here are a couple of my favorite “prayer tracks.” One is the A-C-T-S acrostic. “A” is adoration. Spend a few minutes just adoring God, praising Him for who He is. “C” is confession. Spend a few minutes confessing sin to God. “T” is thanksgiving. Spend a few minutes expressing gratitude to God for His blessings in your life. “S” is supplication. Spend some time asking God to meet needs, in your life and others. A second prayer track is to pray the Lord’s Prayer, phrase by phrase, using each one as a launching pad for prayer. For example, think about the words “Our Father.” Say those words, but then stop and praise God for adopting you as His own. Think about what it means to have Almighty God as your very own Father, who loves you with a perfect love. Do that with each part of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
  • Pray the prayers of the Apostle Paul: Paul’s letters contain some wonderful prayers, that you can make your own. Ephesians 1:17-19 and 3:14-21 are beautiful prayers, as are Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-13, as well as 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.
  • Pray the Psalms: You could focus on one Psalm each day, turning the prayers of the ancient Israelites into your own. Psalms is really a ready-made prayer book.
  • Pray without ceasing: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray constantly.” In other words, cultivate an ongoing relationship with God. Stay in touch with Him throughout the day, in the normal tasks of life. As you are doing whatever you do, be aware of His presence with you, breathing out prayers to Him as you go.

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Praying does not come naturally to us, unless we are in trouble. We are naturally prideful and tend to rely on ourselves, rather than the Lord. Ask God to give you more a humble dependence upon Him, so that prayer becomes as natural as breathing.