When I was younger, I wanted to know how to pray. I thought that you asked God for some good things to happen in your life and he would miraculously make it happen just the way we wanted. Understanding prayer is hard for some. Learning how to pray meaningfully poses even more of a challenge.
As a child, I had the same prayer every night before I went to bed. I would start with my list of mom and dad and work my way all the way down to the goldfish. As a child, I thought that this is what we were supposed to do. Ask god to make everyone ok. There wasn't much meaning behind the prayer as I prayed the same prayer every night. I wasn't really praying for anything specific, just that everyone would be ok.
My grandfather died when I was twelve. My prayers were that everything would be ok and this was not the case. Things didn't go my way and I questioned why. I thought I was doing the right thing and was praying the right prayer. I was never taught how to pray.
How to pray the right way.
There is no specific way to pray that will always get your prayers answered the way you want them answered. Prayer does not work that way. Every thing is on God's time and God's will. We might never know why some of your prayers are unanswered. But are they really unanswered? Sometimes no is an answer.
Look at this example. When your child asks for a pony for their birthday, are you going to say yes? Your child can beg and plead their story to why you should get them the pony. You might reject them for a number of reasons. You might say they are not mature enough to handle it. They cannot properly take care of it. It is a bad idea. You know why they can't get the pony. But your child does not understand. They get mad at you because you said no. You said no because that was not the best thing for them. They cannot understand why a pony of all things is bad.
Are we like the child in this story to God?
How do we pray the right way? Our prayers should be thankful in nature. We should praise God for his wisdom even if we do not understand it. We should accept his answer as he knows best for our situation. Prayer should not always be about us. Prayer is not a wish list.
Being intentional about how we is also important. Our prayers should not be empty, rehearsed words that we repeat time and time again. God wants to hear our concerns and he wants to know what is on our heart. God wants us to bring our needs to him.
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”