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Talking To God

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What is Prayer?

Prayer is our half of a conversation with God. Like a “normal” conversation, there are no specific words to say. Still, Jesus revealed that there are certain areas that we should cover in a prayer. We discuss this on our “Relationships” page. If you have not yet read that page, you can do so by clicking this sentence. Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew chapter 6, verses 9-13 (Matthew 6:9-13) contains four parts:

Praise of God
Requests Made of God
Asking for Forgiveness
Requests to Keep Us from Temptation

We are offering this page as an expanded guideline for those of us who would like a fuller explanation.

We Get Help

Before getting started, it is important to remember that the Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray. This makes our sincere and respectful prayers sound just right to God (see Romans 8:26, 27).

Putting it on Paper

We use a written prayer list to keep focused. We also keep a piece of blank paper nearby. We do this in case we remember something unrelated to our prayer, so we can write the idea down and keep from worrying that we will forget it. This keeps us from being distracted from our prayers for more than a few seconds.

Also, we all have days where their lives are so stressful that it is hard to concentrate. All we can think of is, “God, please help!” Remember, besides ourselves, we need to focus on God. For such times, having a physical prayer list will help us get started.

The following “prayer list” is only a guideline, showing how a prayer following Jesus’ model prayer might appear when written out in some detail. The words in quotation marks show some sample phrases. These are not special words. Do not feel that you have to use them. Instead, speak the way you do normally. Also, you do not need to use the whole list. Of course, you will want to personalize this prayer list by using specific people’s names or referring to yourself when appropriate.

The Prayer List

Praise of God

“Thank you for adopting us through Jesus Christ, letting us have redemption through his blood, and the forgiveness of our sins” (see Ephesians 1:5,7).

“Help us rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Requests Made of God

  • Spiritual Direction

    Here we pray for ourselves and family, asking for the wisdom through the Holy Spirit to know things as they really are and understanding that leads us to right action (see Ephesians 1:15-18). We ask God to strengthen our faith and belief, help us be good role models, and spread His word with effectiveness.

    Here we also pray for Christian churches, the media (radio, TV, publishers), government, educational institutions, and other authorities (as in 1 Timothy 2:1-4). The idea is that we thank God that they are as good as they are (and not worse), and ask that He works things so that they accomplish His will (see Romans 8:28). We pray for the salvation of the people in these organizations so that all of us may live peaceful, quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. “Help all of us to be Your people, and see our land healed” (see 2 Chronicles 7:14).

  • Physical

    “Thanks for the health we have and the healing we have received. Please give us healing in the areas we need, and the health and rest to carry on.”

  • Financial

    “Thanks for what we have and help us provide for our families” (1 Timothy 5:8). “Be with us and help us as we prepare ourselves mentally and physically for our work” (Proverbs 21:31). “Please give us wisdom and help us make wise decisions, use our time wisely. . . .”

  • Daily

    At this point, pray about specific goals and events for today, asking God’s help to follow and accomplish His will.

Asking for Forgiveness

“Forgive us and remove the burden of our mistakes. Help us forgive people when they sin against us” (see Matthew 6:14, 15).

Requests to Keep Us from Temptation

“Thank you for protecting us from Satan. Bind (tie up) the strong man (Satan) so that we can live as Christians, accomplishing what we need to without hindrance” (see Matthew 12:29).

“Put a hedge of protection around us and our household and everything we have” (see Job 1:10).

Your Prayer List Will Change

Over time, your prayer list will change to reflect your relationship with God. That is expected. A prayer list is only an aid to help you communicate effectively to God each day.

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