A few years ago, I listened to a teaching about how Christians must follow the format of the Lord’s Prayer while praying or else their words won’t make it to heaven. Around that same time, I would babysit for one of my neighbors on a regular basis. While getting ready to babysit one evening, I asked God if He heard me when I prayed and if my prayers had any effect. Confusion over how to pray and doubt that He was listening had stifled my communication with Him. In response to my questions, I was impressed to start talking to Him like a friend. I didn’t realize that I had slipped into a formula. But a subtle nudge from the Holy Spirit reminded me to stop my formulas and just talk
This reminds me of something Andrew says in his book A Better Way to Pray:
“In the Bible, people knelt, raised their hands, and even looked up into heaven at times, but don’t make a religious form out of these things and require their presence in order to consider something ‘prayer.’ You can pray with your eyes open or closed, hands raised or down, standing, kneeling, or prostrate. Since meditation is prayer (Ps. 5:1), you don’t even have to talk out loud! Your communion with God should be constant” (p. 19).
God was showing me how to relate to Him in normal, everyday life. I didn’t have to follow a method; I could just be myself with Him. So, I talked to God about everything—my family, friends, dog, dreams, the past, the future—and then I asked Him to work in other people’s lives. I then wrapped it up by praying for the Christian family I was going to babysit for, whose house I was about to enter.
As I walked through my neighbor’s front door, I saw the dad preparing dinner for his two young daughters. He and I chatted for a bit, and while he was setting down full dinner plates for his girls, he blurted out, “I feel like someone has been praying for us.” He turned around and looked at me. Oh my gosh! I shrieked in my mind as I stared back at him in silence. It had just been a normal conversation with God.
In A Better Way to Pray, Andrew says,
“You just need to learn how to fellowship with God in the midst of everyday life. Do you know how to appreciate Him in the small things? Are you always trying to do something earthshaking or monumental to build your intimacy with Him? You can’t sustain your relationship that way! Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the Garden with God. I’m sure their conversations consisted of: ‘Father, I saw a flower today that I’ve never seen before. You did a great job!’ That’s prayer” (p. 47).
I realized that God Almighty was hearing my voice! Heaven was using my prayer to bless the people in my life! And it definitely made an impact. Knowing this may sound like a baby step of faith in prayer, and that’s probably true. But if babies never take that first step, they’ll never learn how to walk. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The line to heaven is always open, and He’s always listening. Now I just need to let God get some words in edgewise!
Are you confused or frustrated about your prayer life? Do you feel like you’re not “doing it right”? You can learn how to transform your prayer life into an intimate friendship with God. Check out Andrew’s teaching A Better Way to Pray. It’s available in CD, DVD, book, or study guide format. You can also watch Andrew teach this topic on the Gospel
Post a comment below if this has encouraged you!