Prayer 101: The Basics

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If you're new to prayer or just need a refresher course, here are some basics.

Why pray?

We turn to God through prayer for various reasons, sometimes out of a sense of duty ("I'm supposed to do this as a Christian") and more often out of a sense of need ("I need you God. I don't know where else to turn"). However, the main purpose for prayer is to have a relationship with God. It's not about getting what we want or even what we need. The Bible says God knows our needs before we even ask (Matthew 6:8), and He always provides us with what we need.

When and where do I pray?

Any time. Anywhere. No matter what you're doing or where you are. The Bible says to be continually praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It helps to begin your day by praying, and some people like to have a specific place where they go to pray. Others like spending time with God in a variety of places. It doesn't matter where you go, just that you do.

What do I pray?

-Start by praying for what's on your mind and heart.

-The popular ACTS model for prayer might be helpful to follow:

Adoration - praising God for who He is

Confession - admitting the things that have put a wall between you and God

Thanksgiving - thanking God for what He has given you

Supplication - sharing your needs and the needs of others with God

-Don't forget to spend time quietly listening to God. God uses many means to talk to us - silence, music, parents, friends, mentors, teachers, pastors, books, church, retreats, unique quotes, devotions, and of course, the Bible.

The Point?

Prayer is all about keeping an ongoing and open conversation between you and God. It's about spending time with Him. It's not about following a set of rules or praying because you "should," and it's not about getting everything you want either. God loves giving us gifts and our hearts' desires, but what He loves even more is when we love Him and spend time with Him just because we can, just because we love Him, just because of who He is and not only for what He does for us. He loves you so much and just wants you ... all of you.

“I have loved you ... with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

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