Hello! A very Happy New Year to all of you and I pray 2022 will be a better year for many. I am very happy to be back after a (little stressful) break. And, of course, you know I like to go right into talking about important topics, especially for us as Christians trying to live obediently to the Lord.
That’s why this week’s topic concerns prayer.
I wasn’t sure what to write about this week, but then came the little clues that God was making me see. The past Sunday was the last Sunday of January and recently we started getting together as a couple of friends to spend some quality time together, play some games, belt out worship songs, and end in prayer. That night, the Lord had put it on my heart to make a really important comment regarding prayer.
For me growing up, I was always taught to pray, having for the most part Catholic upbringing, I was taught the Lord’s prayer and memorized it by heart. I was given a rosary and was taught how to pray to the Saints and mother Mary and so, it was always a habit of mine to pray. As dad converted to Christianity and he started taking my little brother and me to a Christian church (I was between 6-7 years old by then), I started learning that I don’t have to have a memorized prayer to be able to talk with God. Moreover, I began to learn about Scripture and awesome stories from the Bible I was never taught by my Catholic family. All I ever knew was tradition.
As I became older, I still obliged to certain Catholic traditions while also learning about many other things regarding Christianity, and even now, after 4 years of coming to faith in Christ, I still learn new things every day.
But, regarding prayer, I have seen that even people that grow up in Christian households are taught a simple prayer so they can learn how to pray. But many, as they grow up (and perhaps have not yet come to Christ), they lose the value of prayer and why it’s so essential to the Christian life. One of the greatest things that we are given is a prayer that goes directly to the Father through Jesus Christ as the Mediator. In the old days, a priest was the one that had to bring up the people’s petitions to God with a sacrifice. But Jesus bore the ultimate sacrifice in order to give us that freedom through Him to bring every single thing on our hearts to God.
But yet, we fail over and over again to start and end our day with prayer. For me personally, I struggle to stay awake when praying early in the morning and I forget to end my day praying, giving thanks to the Lord:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6
This includes praying for others (or not doing it) when telling others, we’ll be praying for them, because that’s how we were taught. And then we forget that it’s all about doing it from the heart, guided by the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t answer an unbeliever’s prayer unless they are confessing Christ as Lord and Savior of their life (Romans 10:9-10, John 3:16).
Don’t let prayer be something you do quickly and without the true heart’s intention behind it. Be intentional with everything you do, and that starts with a consistent prayer life. Don’t overcomplicate your life with the right words to say to God, just pray what you can pray. God listens and He wants our words to be true, not some fabrication of what may sound as “spiritual”. This is the Father, Creator of all, that is listening to every little thing you may have on your heart.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. – Psalm 107:1-3
In the Gospels, Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, commonly known and prayed in Catholicism (Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4) as an example of how we are to pray to the Father.
But we know and understand that we can pray to God the Father freely through Christ Jesus, and it doesn’t have to be the Lord’s Prayer specifically!
Here’s the thing, the human condition is absolutely flawed and sinful. We will never be able to do anything in our own strengths. The same goes for prayer; we cannot just pray to expect everything to turn out the way we want it to. We pray to God, asking for His will in our lives and for Him to grant us wisdom and discernment in everything we do in our lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to pray without ceasing. In other words, we should have an uninterrupted, constant prayer life as we continue to grow intimately in our relationship with Jesus. Ephesians 6:18 also talks about prayer as an important (basically the most important) element of the Armor of God:
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
So, here are a few things I try to remember as I try to improve my prayer life:
- The breath you breathe as you go to bed, sleep, and wake up is all possible because of God;
- Nobody should discourage you from how you speak with the Father (don’t be shy about praying/talking to God);
- The best feeling is knowing others are praying for you, so pray for others (no matter what it may be);
- Remember that when the Holy Spirit dwells in you, He will be the one to give you the discernment to pray, whatever you may need to pray about.
Be encouraged! There’s nothing better than knowing that we can pray to a God that listens to us, even when others can’t.