In the Bible (Matthew 6:5-13), Jesus gives his followers some instructions on how to pray. He models, through the Lord’s Prayer, four important parts of connecting with God through prayer. You can remember them through the acronym, “P.R.A.Y.”
P – Praise. “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.” God is holy and deserves our thanks and praise. What do you love about God? His faithfulness? Guidance? Power? Tell Him. What are you thankful for? Food? Family? Friends? Housing? Healing? Communicate that.
R – Repent. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” No matter how many good things we do, each of us has a side that acts, speaks, and thinks in ways that are destructive to ourselves and to others. God gives us the gift of repentance: acknowledging our sin, receiving forgiveness, and turning away from those behaviors and attitudes. So what do you need to apologize to God for? Be honest…He already knows. And then trust that what Jesus did on the cross and through his resurrection is for you and that you are forgiven.
A – Ask. “Give us today our daily bread.” God loves to provide for His children and He is always listening. So ask God for what you need. Ask for what your loved ones need. Ask for what your world needs. Pray boldly and with confidence in God’s love for you and the world He created. What would you like to ask God for today?
Y – Yield. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When you come to a yield sign, you give way to the other car. When you come to the end of your prayer, yield to God. Trust that He knows what is best. God always answers our prayers. Sometimes He says, “Yes.” Sometimes He says, “No.” Other times He says, “Not yet.” Whatever God’s answer, it is always grounded in His unconditional love and unfathomable understanding of the big picture.
There are no magical formulas to prayer and this is certainly not the only way to pray. But you might find it helpful in connecting with God in 2015. God’s listening!