Sometimes I wonder where to start. How am I supposed to pray? We live in a very colorful world, full of many different thoughts, ideas, and philosophies. Sometimes I end up with a smoky brain, trying to make sense of many different concepts while dealing with challenges and ups and downs that our lives provide us with. And in the jungle of all of this, I wonder, ‘How do you even address an all-powerful, all-knowing God?’ ‘What do you say to him first and how do I put my thoughts into words?’ And if he’s all-knowing, ‘what’s the point of telling him what he already knows?’
Recently I read two verses in Philippians 4 that provided me with some answers. Verse 6 encourages us to pray about everything, while Verse 7 talks about God’s peace coming over us and guarding our hearts and minds. These are big words – “pray about everything” – and they feel quite general and broad. At the same time, it gives me relief because it seems to be very hard to make mistakes since I can pray about everything, actually I’m even encouraged to pray about everything. And if we are supposed to pray about everything, then there surely must be a point of telling Him stuff he already knows.
Here are 3 points that might be helpful, as we continue to dig and think about prayer:
- Jesus started his most famous prayer with “our father” (see Matthew 6). We are allowed to call him “father”. The word “father” might stir different feelings or emotions in you, depending on your upbringing, depending on your story. But what Jesus meant is a person and a place of safety. You are talking to a person that is 100% for you, he is not waiting with a stick, but he is interested in your life. Yes, he already knows what you did today and what thoughts you have on your mind. But you know what, he absolutely loves to hear it from you. He’s like this loving father who enjoys listening to a story of his 5-year-old, not because it’s world-changing or because he doesn’t know it, but because he loves his child and because he’s all about relationship. Further, it’s interesting that Jesus says “our father”, not just “my father.” Praying in a community often times revives my spirit, I enjoy to pray with a friend or two, it flows, goes back and forth, we inspire each other. If you haven’t done that for a while you might wanna give it a try.
- Saying “Thank you” to someone costs us just 2 words, but it can make someone’s day. And it helps us to be appreciative and stay positive. Prayers of thankfulness are very similar. It doesn’t cost much but helps us to see the world in a positive way and around us through God’s eyes. Let’s not forget that every good and perfect gift comes from him (see James 1:17).
- Back to our 2 Verses from Philippians 4. In Verse 7 we find a wonderful promise, it says that we would experience his peace, as we pray. It’s his peace, not just any peace, not just absence of war, but so much more. A deep sense of belonging, knowing that he knows, knowing that he understands and that he is in control. Sharing our innermost thoughts, desires and questions with a friend often brings comfort, knowing that you are not alone in your process makes your heart lighter – and so does sharing with your friend Jesus. Pouring out your heart to him will give you peace, even if a storm rages around you.
There is surely much more to say about prayer, but let’s stop here for now because the most important thing about prayer is – to do it. So I want to encourage you to take a few minutes, to seek his face and to share with him – he’s waiting for you and looks forward to meeting with you!
Marcel, from Switzerland, completed his DTS in New Zealand and is currently on staff with us here at YWAM Lausanne
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