God loves you. He wants to connect with you. Prayer is the way you can talk with and listen to Him.
“Love to pray. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.” Saint Teresa of Kolkata
Where and When Can I Pray?
God wants to meet and talk with you anywhere and anytime. You don’t need special skills or knowledge. You don’t need to be in church to be in God’s presence.
“[It is] a serious mistake to think of our prayer time as being different from any other. Our actions should unite us to God when we are involved in our daily activities, just as our prayer unites us with Him in our quiet time …. So why not begin? He may be waiting for us to take the first step.” Brother Lawrence
Is Prayer Something You Perform?
Have you ever been tempted to pray as if you are more than you really are? God wants your prayers to be real and authentic. So, just be yourself when you pray and talk with God.
“When all we bring to prayer is our holiness what is the use of being there? … To grow spiritually, then, I cannot hide – even from myself. I must pray for self-knowledge and for the searing honesty that, with the grace of God, can bring me to the heart of God.” Joan Chittester
Going Deep into God’s Presence
Prayer can help you grow strong in faith and in understanding what God wants for you and for his world. You can experience prayer at different levels.
“We do not go deep, to study God, we go deep to taste his reality …. When we reach for God in love, and God reaches back, he meets us deep in the centre of our existence.” Calvin Miller
Wonder and Love in Prayer
Jesus wants to longs to draw you into his heart of love. He loves hearing your voice in prayer and seeing your eyes of worship.
“Prayer is nothing but the application of the heart to God, and the internal exercise of love.” Jeanne Guyon
Ask For What You Nneed
You don’t need to pray special ‘prayer words’ over and over to get God’s attention. Jesus invites you to ask God directly for what you need, and trust him to provide. He’s not in the business of playing games with you.
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or, about your body, what you will wear …. your Heavenly Father knows that you need them …. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Jesus
Prayer and Action
Prayer not only helps you get your inward life right with God. Through it, God shows you how you can love others and look after your world.
“Even at their prayers, the clamour and discordancies of the street outside intrude, lest they should forget for a single second why they are there and where they belong.” Malcolm Muggeridge writing about the Sisters of Mercy, Kolkata, India
A Joyful Noise
Being joyful with people you like is part of being in a relationship. It’s no different in your relationship with God. God delights in your company. He loves it when you get excited and thank him for his goodness.
“Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father for this was your good pleasure.” Luke 10:21
A Garment of Praise
When life makes you sad, gets you down, leaves you grieving, or makes you feel like giving up, Jesus wants to give you a garment of praise to replace your spirit of heaviness and despair.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me … to comfort all who mourn … to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1a ,3
It can be hard to live in ways that are consistent with God’s values and Jesus’ teaching. Sharing prayer in common with other believers can help you to live a God-centred life within the Jesus-community.
“God’s deepest longing is for the church to be united as one body …. Common prayer is meant to be an interruption. It disrupts our reality and refocuses it on God. It reshapes our perceptions and lives with new rhythms, new holy days, a whole new story.” Introduction to Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
Praying for Others
In John 17, Jesus prayed for his followers. The way he prayed and what he said to God the Father is an example of how you can pray for other people.
“through our prayers for others, [Jesus can] pour the gift of His splendid spirit through us into them. The splendid spirit can run through the people who really pray, like a stream of living fire, out into the world of men and women who need just that, and only that” Geoffrey A. Studdert Kennedy
When you are surrounded by trouble, you can call on the name of the Lord in prayer, and trust his protection. Sometimes our trust can get shaky, and that’s when you need the faith and prayers of your church family to help you not lose hope.
“Lord, be my mighty rock, the place where I can always run for protection. Save me by your command! You are my mighty rock and my fortress.” Psalm 71:3 in the Contemporary English Version
Understanding yourself and God’s will for you is one thing. Overcoming the barriers to doing his will can be quite another. An encircling prayer is one where you pray to God for his protection and power to lead and enable you to do his will; to meet your needs; and give you his wisdom to teach and guide you.
“I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay, God’s ear to hearken to my need, the wisdom of my God to teach, God’s hand to guide, God’s shield to ward, the word of God to give me speech, God’s heavenly host to be my guard.” St Patrick of Ireland
Prayer is a Gift
The gift of prayer is being able to trust God with your life with all its twists and turns. In the process you can become more like Jesus, enabled to do his work through your hands.
“Prayer is the gift of being able to put my life into the hands of God – and trust the path that opens before me. Whether I think I would have wanted it or not.” Joan Chittester
Prayer and special friends are anchors that can help remind you God is always near and cares for you. Use these anchors to remain steady and safe in God’s heart of love.
“God’s love is the one thing we can hold onto in all the circumstances of life … [It’s] the place where we can ride out the storms of life.” Margaret Silf
Here I Am Waiting
It isn’t easy living with uncertainty, especially when you don’t know how long it’s going to be that. Turn to God in prayer during these times. God’s faithful love can help and give you strength.
“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for he will never disappoint you!” Psalm 27:14 in The Passion Translation
A Dry and Thirsty Land
Spiritual longing lies deep in the human spirit. Do you have a spiritual thirst that hasn’t been quenched? Are there dry and arid places in your life that need life-giving water and renewal? Pray to God when you are feeling spiritually dry, squeezed out and empty. Keep seeking Him. He will fill your dry land with springs of water.
Father, we surrender our emptiness and weariness to you as we seek your renewal. Jesus, we drink with thankful hearts from your desert pool. Holy Spirit, we open ourselves to your fountain of life and wait on you to fill and overflow our barren spirits. Amen
God faithfully reaches out to you with his love and compassion. He wants to send his Spirit to help you live a love-filled life. You are like a tender green shoot in his care. He will help you grow and see you through the difficult times.
“Everyone will see the Lord’s splendour, see his greatness and power … Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue … Streams of water will flow through the desert …. Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow.” Isaiah 35:1-4, 7 in the Good News Bible
Making Each Day Count
Between your birth and death, there is a lot of living to do! Regular prayer can help you make the most of each new day.
“Tomorrow’s undecided. Our days are counted on this planet, never take a single day for granted.” Josh Grobin
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV
Emerging Out of Marble
When Michelangelo sculpted, he chipped away the excess rock to reveal the beautiful statue hidden inside. In a similar way God’s Spirit chips away the rough marble of your life to reveal the beauty that lies deep within you.
“As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you. But when you live separated from me you are powerless.’ John 15:5 in The Passion Translation
The Refining Process
For a diamond to go from being a rough, dull-looking stone to a beautiful gem, it must go through an intensive process of cutting, shaping, polishing and cleaning. Growing in your faith, to better reflect the light of Christ within you, can be a similarly intense process of refining.
“Jesus, take me as I am, I can come no other way … Make me like a precious stone, crystal clear and finely honed. Life of Jesus shining through, giving glory back to You.” Dave Bryant
God connects with us through nature
When God speaks through nature, this can happen right on your doorstep – such as a breathtaking dawn showing the artwork of God.
“[God wants to] renew our hearts and souls so that we will walk in a new level of his divine creativity … He is such a multifaceted Creator, endlessly creative in how he chooses to communicate.”James Goll
Just as rain renews the earth so life can flourish, God rains down righteousness in the form of the Holy Spirit to teach you how to live well. The Holy Spirit brings rain to refresh and nourish your soul.
“Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right – Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do.” Joel 2:23 in The Message Translation
The light of life is Jesus. Like a sunbeam, he shines on your life. When you accept his light of life, you can in turn become a ‘sunbeam’ that shines Jesus’ light on those with whom you interact.
“God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians4:6
A Rainbow Circle
When you’re feeling down, a rainbow can be a reminder of God’s love and faithfulness; and a rainbow circle of his wrap-around, continuous love.
“The lovers of God will be glad, rejoicing in the Lord. They will be found in his glorious wrap-around presence, singing songs of praise to God.” Psalm 64:10 in The Passion Translation
The Back Dam
A dam at the back of a farm became a reminder that God plants many different ‘trees of righteousness’ that put down roots beside His water of life.
“Those whose confidence is in the Lord are like trees planted by the water that send out their roots by the stream.” Jeremiah 17:7
Where Sea Meets Sand
Life grows where sand and sea meet even though there is friction and churn. Likewise, when people with different backgrounds meet, they can learn and grow from each other. Rather than putting up barriers to avoid the friction, make the effort to recognise the differences in constructive ways.
“Lord, make us one. Do not make us like them, do not make them like us, but make us all more like you. Amen.”