Noticing the Lord’s supernatural changes in our minds, bodies, and spirits is important. If we pray for the Holy Spirit to accompany us in peace and confidence, then as soon as we forget about our discomfort and our angst, we should say hey, thanks God. I’m clipping along really good now.
It isn’t easy to notice the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayer lives. Pain is easy to notice. When it hurts, it hurts. But is comfort easy to notice, or is that just how it is suppose to be? Many of us take comfort for granted. We believe that being comfortable, confident, and content is simply normal, so when we are those things, we just go about living and don’t take to noticing that hey, I’m comfortable, confident, and content right now. Thank you, Jesus!
God wants us to pray about all things, but how do we pray about all things? The only bad way to pray is in a way that even we, humans, would find irritating and annoying—complaints, whining, and grumbling. Who likes to hear a child whine about not getting his or her way? In the same way, God doesn’t want to hear us whine and complain, and he doesn’t want us to accuse him of doing evil.
If we have a need, pray like this: Lord, please heal me. Lord, please heal my friend. Lord, I need help or I’m going to be in big trouble. Lord, would you tell that person to stop bothering me, thank you. Lord, I’m going to need some sales quick. Lord, oh, it hurts.
Even before we pray, God knows our needs, so if we can’t find the words to express what we want to say, don’t worry, God knows what we are trying to say. Also, a prayer of thanks is just as good as a prayer of request. Even before we are healed, or even before our prayers for someone else are answered, it is good to say thank you Jesus for answering my prayer. The more positive we stay as we pray, the more our minds will enjoy a positive way of thinking. Prayer helps train our minds into developing new patterns of thought. As we go through the day, keep thanking God for all of those little victories that we encounter. If the last cookie is still in the pack for us to eat, say cool, thanks Lord!
Praying positive prayers is a powerful tool to use for long term goals. If we continually say thank you Jesus for giving me the opportunity to work on my dreams, and thank you for my faith in knowing that my labor is not going to be wasted—meaning, my dreams will come true—then our minds will want to believe what we are saying. We will believe that the Lord is directing us toward a marvelous place, a place where our dreams are met, and that will persuade us to continue with what we are doing in faith, in God’s strength, and in God’s confidence. And when we are using God’s faith, strength, and confidence, we know that failure is not an option. In other words, what God wants to happen will be completed.
Some of us may ask the question how do we know what God wants for us? How do we know that God wants us to live our dreams? God wants good things for us. He does want us to live our dreams, but to be absolutely sure, bring it up in prayer. That’s how we give our lives over to him. We say Jesus, if you don’t want me to keep working toward this dream, then cut me off right now. But if you do want me to continue, then let’s do this!
Also, to live our dreams, we can’t do things that contradict who God is. Divorce, lying, and stealing are not condoned by God, so if we are using those methods to pursue our dreams or using those methods in any area of our lives, then we just might be shooting ourselves in the foot. But if God puts a dream on our hearts—if we feel everyday that we need to be doing something—then we should seek how the Lord wants us to go about getting it done.
Another thing, it’s cool to pray to God in the way we speak. In prayer, saying come on, man, let’s go is perfectly fine with God. And don’t tell any religious folks I told you this, but slipping up and saying a curse word in prayer isn’t going to make God want to smash you, especially when Jesus accepts apologies. In prayer, it’s good to talk to God as if he were human. He did create us to be like him, after all, and he isn’t this delicate, sensitive person that many of us make him out to be. He’s pretty patient and understanding, actually.
Two or three second prayers work just as well as long, wordy prayers. Prayers don’t have to be long, flowery, and structured well enough to be published in the North American Review. They can be short, make no sense at all, and full of words that don’t exist, but, out of respect for the others in the room, it might be a good idea to keep those kind of prayers silently spoken in our minds.
On the other hand, sometimes it feels good to stay in prayer. Sometimes, when we are laying in bed or sitting at the table, it just feels good to talk and talk and talk to the Lord, and that’s welcomed, too. But do that in silent prayer. Dragging other people through meditative style prayers gets old, fast.
The Lord will often put a prayer in our minds for us to say. If the idea to pray for a certain thing pops into our heads, then say the prayer. It could be about any random thing, but keep in mind that God won’t ever ask us to pray curses on someone else. He won’t ask us to pray for more anger, deceit, and greed either.
God tells us to pray for our enemies. He tells us to love our enemies, so what’s the best prayer we can say for those who hurt, ridicule, insult, betray, abuse, and mock us? Jesus, please change that person’s heart. Lord, bless that person. God protects those who love him, so have faith. It’s okay to ask the Lord for justice.
For our prayers, let’s be as honest as we can. The best way to become honest is to pay attention to our own thoughts. What’s going on in this head of mine? Where did those thoughts come from? Why am I thinking this way? What am I thinking about right now? There’s that thought that I always ignore again. Why do I ignore it? Acknowledge all thoughts! And as we see what is happening in our brains, let’s bring it up to God.
If we are having trouble finding a prayer to say, then we can ask the Lord to help us find it. We can ask the Lord anything we want to ask him. We can ask him to help us get better at praying, get better at understanding our own thoughts and actions, get better at noticing God in our lives. . .