“Master, teach us how to pray” (Luke 11:1). After being in the company of Jesus, listening to His words, witnessing His healings, and seeing His deep relationship with His Heavenly Father, the Apostles longed to know how to pray as Jesus prayed. They were attracted by His holiness and His peace.
We, too, long to know God in a deeper way. As Jesus shares the most intimate relationship with His Father, we too desire to share that intimacy with God. Prayer is the way to God.
But how to pray? Can we learn how to pray? Can we really have an intimate relationship with God? The answer is, “Yes!” Not only can we have an intimate relationship with God; God desires that we be in an intimate friendship with Him.
So, whether you are just learning how to pray, or you want to deepen your life of prayer, here are four steps to guide you along the path of prayer:
The psalmist writes, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Today, more than ever, it is difficult to be still. We are bombarded with distractions. Yet, in order to enter into prayer, the first thing we must do is to be still. We must let go of the anxieties and distractions of our lives. A simple way to do this is to take some deep breaths. As you breath in, focus on entering into God’s presence; as you breath out, consciously surrender your burdens and distractions to the Lord.
As you become still, focus your awareness on the loving presence of God. He is lovingly gazing upon you. You are precious in His sight. You are in His heart, and He is in yours. Simply be aware of His holy presence. Don’t rush to move beyond this awareness. Allow yourself as much time as you need to be aware of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As you remain aware of God’s presence, speak to Him from your heart as a friend speaks to a friend. Be open and honest with Him. Share with Him your joys and sorrows, your hopes and fears. He knows the depths of your heart, so hold nothing back from Him. We experience deep freedom when we open our hearts to the Lord.
After you speak with Him, listen to Him. Do not feel that you need to fill your prayer with words. In fact, spend more time listening than speaking. He wants to speak to your heart. He will speak to you. No, not in audible words, but in your holy thoughts and desires.
Be still. Be aware. Be honest. Be attentive. These simple steps will help you to begin a life of prayer or take you deeper into your already-established life of prayer.
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