Lord, Teach Us to Pray
20 Prayer Tips for Those Hungry to Know More About God
One of the great things we learn about Jesus from reading the Bible is that He loved to pray. He prayed often. In many of the scenarios we read in the Bible, we see Jesus alone on a mountain praying, on a mountain with His disciples sleeping nearby praying, or on the bottom of a ship praying.
Jesus loved prayer!
He knew the importance of staying connected to the Father. And I think Jesus received strength in prayer. Here’s what I mean…
… Jesus knew what His mission here on earth was. God had made it very clear to Him.
† He knew He was not here to make friends.
† He was not here to set up roots down here on earth.
† He was not here to start a family.
† Nor was He here to advance this worldly system.
Jesus came to earth on a mission from God to introduce the world to God’s kingdom, to advance God’s kingdom here on earth, and to seek and to save the lost.
Jesus came to heal the sick. Set the captive free. Deliver the oppressed. Preach the gospel to the poor. He came to die for the sins of the world – as God’s sacrificial lamb.
And to accomplish all of this, Jesus needed to pray. To keep His courage built up for what He was about to do, He had to talk to God on a regular basis to receive strength for the mission, a pep talk when He felt like giving up, and a reminder of why He was doing all of this. Yes, Jesus needed this.
Because Jesus could not have accomplished His mission here without God strengthening Him in the Holy Ghost, nor without a direct communication channel to God.
So now, you and I are gathered here together to talk about prayer. What are the fundamentals of prayer? What are the benefits of prayer? How can you develop a communication channel of your own through prayer?
Let’s get started, shall we?
First, let’s start by looking in on the conversation Jesus had with His disciples. They put forth a simple request to Him. “Lord, teach us to pray.”
The Lord’s Prayer
Jesus prayed for God’s name to be reverenced in the earth.
That His holy name would be known and respected in the earth.
Jesus also prayed for God’s holy kingdom to be revealed on earth, in all its fullness, for all to see.
And He prayed for God’s will to be done on the earth, as it is in heaven.
Jesus also prayed to God for daily provisions. For food, clothing, shelter … but also for life, health, strength, and a mind to do the Father’s will.
He prayed for forgiveness, and that He would be able to forgive all those who were indebted to Him.
And finally, Jesus taught His disciples to pray to not be overcome by temptation. But to be delivered from the evil one. To not be overcome with evil … but to overcome evil with good. For all power belongs to God … in heaven and in earth.
Our prayers should also follow the pattern that Jesus set for His disciples. God should be our focus, and our desire should be to see His will performed in the earth. God’s earthly will should reflect His heavenly will. And as His chosen ambassadors on earth, our desire should be to please the Father, and to seek to do His will.
My Journey in Prayer
There’s a place in town where I like to go to pray. It’s called the Valley of Blessings.
It’s a very beautiful, and peaceful place – The Valley of Blessings. There is a pond, beautiful foliage, waterfalls, meditative seating areas dotted across the valley, and piped worship music playing softly in the background.
When I enter the Valley of Blessings, I always enter reverently, never in a hurry, always taking my time. This is how we should always enter God’s presence, with the awareness that we are entering God’s holy presence.
I sometimes sit. I sometimes pray. But I’m always listening for God’s voice. God speaks to us in the stillness of our hearts. In the quietness is usually when we can hear God’s voice clearly.
Find Your Secret Place
You may not have a Valley of Blessings where you are, but find a quiet place where you can be alone with God to talk to Him, and Hear His voice.
It could be a quiet corner of a room, a small utility closet you don’t use anymore, a quiet corner of your local park, or even in your car as you’re commuting to work.
I can remember one year driving to our church’s national convention. The drive was about 6 hours total. During this time, I was a prayer partner at the church I was attending at the time.
As a prayer partner, I had committed to pray a couple times a week, at specific times.
One of my prayer times happened to fall within the window of my trip to the convention. I had an hour and a half to pray. So here’s what I did…
I turned off the radio, and while keeping my hands on the wheel, and my eyes on the road, I had a lovely time in prayer during my trip to the convention. It was just me and God in the car. And I greatly enjoyed the company.
Any place, and any time, can be turned into a place of prayer. Learn to block everything off and devote this time to God. If you are committed to Him, He’ll be committed to you. He’s a great God!
My Discovery about God During Regular Prayer
I can remember very vividly a certain season in my life having a prayer time at 5:30 am each morning. Sometimes I would go down to the church and join in with the corporate prayer. Or I would go to the prayer room where I knew I would have the room all to myself. But mostly I would pray each morning at home.
In the beginning it was hard to get into the rhythm. But once I found my rhythm I actually looked forward to these 5:30 prayer meetings.
Some mornings I would find myself waking up maybe an hour, sometimes two hours, before my 5:30 am prayer meeting with God. I would lay there anticipating this time, waiting for the alarm clock to go off.
And then it hit me… I started to sense that I wasn’t the only one anticipating my 5:30 prayer. In my spirit, I felt that God was also actually looking forward to spending time with me! This amazed me and blew my mind. This was something I hadn’t considered. But it’s true. When you have set aside a regular time everyday to talk to God, He starts to look forward to meeting with you too.
This is particularly true when you, as I did, let God do most of the talking, while you listen. We need direction and guidance from God, but if we do all the talking how can we hear from Him?
I didn’t spend my time with God complaining or begging for anything. I just enjoyed spending time with Him. This was a critical factor in our relationship. I grew to love just spending time with Him, and hearing from Him.
This is a key to successful prayer, and having a great relationship with God. Don’t see God as an ATM to get the things you want from Him, or a sounding board to complain about all the bad things happening in your life.
How would you feel if every time someone talked to you all they did was ask for money, or complain? You would quickly tire of them. And you would probably dodge them every time you saw them coming. Don’t treat God like this. Spend time with Him because you love spending time with Him. Cultivate a relationship. Listen more than you talk. He IS wisdom. And you can learn a lot from Him.
Whether you are a prayer novice or a seasoned prayer veteran who has lost your “juice” these prayer tips will help you get your prayer life up and running, or get it back on track.
But before we start, please remember that prayer is a personal thing. It’s between you and God, based on the relationship you have with Him. While these prayer tips are powerful and effective, over time you should learn what works for you, and stick with it.
Okay, so let’s get started!
Here are 20 prayer tips to help you develop and cultivate your prayer life.
1. Carve out a set time to pray whenever you pray.
2. Take your prayer time serious, and remove or limit distractions.
3. Don’t do all the talking. Make it a habit of listening to God when you pray.
4. Don’t use your prayer time to complain to God or beg Him for stuff. That’s not what this is about.
5. Keep pen and paper (or a prayer journal) handy when you pray. (In case you need to write down a revelation God gives you.)
6. Reverence God by making yourself presentable before you enter into His presence.
7. Do not pull out your phone to check email or social media during prayer.
8. Have your Bible nearby in case you need to look up a scripture reference.
9. Become a prayer partner or join the intercessory prayer team at your church, or start one!
10. Find a quiet and solitary place to pray. (Where you can feel inspired, or look forward to going.)
11. Expect God to show up, and don’t be surprised when He does.
12. Remove any preconceived notions you might have about God, and open yourself up to allow Him to teach you who He is.
13. Expect to receive revelation from God when you pray. Accept that you don’t know everything.
14. Humble yourself when you pray. Acknowledge that God is the only one who deserves glory.
15. Desire to draw closer to God and welcome a closer relationship with Him.
16. Expect the unexpected when you pray.
17. Have faith when you pray. Believe that God is near, and that He hears you.
18. Let your guard down. You can trust God.
19. Be vulnerable and transparent before God. He already knows everything about you anyway.
20. Seek God’s will when you pray, and pray His will.