New Believer? Step 4: Pray

If you are a new believer and have never really been taught to pray.

Or you've been a believer for long but you rarely pray, you've fallen out of it a bit.

Or if you have a Catholic background and you only know the Lord's Prayer, and it feels rote. God doesn't seem close. Prayer feels impersonal.

This may help. Here's just a brief and basic beginners guide to prayer.

The Lord speaks to us primarily through His Word the Bible, and He promises to listen to us when by faith we pray to Him. God listens when trusting that Christ has reconciled us to Him, we pray to Him.

Praying is essentially speaking to the Lord while believing He listens.

Why pray?

Well, why did Jesus pray? For one thing, Jesus loved God and He KNEW that God loved Him. So Jesus had emotional joy in prayer. He knew that His Father listened. Jesus also knew that our Father in Heaven answers prayers.

This wasn't reserved only for Jesus. You too can pray with this same confidence that God loves you, God listens, and God answers.

Jesus believed that His prayers would be answered.

Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus didn't pray that Peter would not be tested or spiritually sifted, but that Peter's fail doesn't fail in this test. Then knew that God's Spirit would protect Peter's heart and told him, Peter, after your faith is strengthened through this test, strengthen your brothers. Jesus knew God would answer Him.

Jesus prayed for others in their weaknesses. He also prayed in His own weakness.

Jesus also knew not all of His prayers would be answered exactly as He wished. (see Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, Matthew 26:36-46)

Aware of this, Jesus prayed humbly, trusting the Father's sovereign wisdom and love.

He made His request to His Father in heave. He shared His heart, and also His fears. After he expressed Himself openly and in trust, Jesus deferred to the Father's wisdom, "Yet My will, but Yours be done."

"Not my will, but Yours be done" is not a tag line to our prayers; it expresses the humility with which all prayers should be offered.

Your Heavenly Father welcomes you the believer to make your petitions to Him, to ask for His help, to ask for His intervention in life and circumstances and hearts and matters of importance. It's okay to ask. He says to ask. He wants you trust Him with you, with everything you face, and to make your requests known to Him believing that He listens and cares. Right now.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Prayer helps you to process life with God. Share your thoughts, share in His heart.

Don't be shy about this.

Come to Him with your worries and needs. Make your requests known to the Father. Cast your anxieties on Him trusting that He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Trust this about Him.

When you trust that He cares for you, you will more readily cast your anxieties upon Him.

Learn to value prayer then as a source of grace and power. Jesus changes things for you. Yes pray humbly, but pray confidently in God's grace and His love and His power and His purpose for you.

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

This is another way of saying, the humble are those who trust God and God gives grace to the humble.

Realize too, prayer is relational not religious. Just like God, "our Father." That's as relational as it gets.

Even as you pray the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, do so relationally with faith. Jesus really offers more of an outline than a precise script. Our Lord's prayer provides a way to speak with your Father who loves you, and reminds you of important issues worth talking about with the Lord your God. 

Realize God nurtures relationship. He fosters intimacy based on His committed love. Believe this, seek this as you speak with Him, and speak with Him as you know Him, as He reveals Himself as your Father in heaven who loves you and sent His Son to rescue you to be His forevermore. And keep in mind, He now sees you as righteous and holy and of great worth through your union in Christ.

Talk with Him as the infinite and glorious Lord of love who is good and invites you to pray. For it is His relational heart and His committed love and power which makes prayer real, personal, and enjoyable.