(S)pray Like You Mean It!

The other day I visited with my friends, Aaron and Jessica. When Aaron came into the room, I immediately noticed the slogan on his t-shirt.  It said, “Spray Like You Mean It!” But, from my angle, I thought it said, “Pray Like You Mean It!” 

That got me thinking about prayer. I feel blessed to be able to pray to my Heavenly Father whenever I want to speak to him. In return, I often receive answers to my prayers. Sometimes those answers are immediate. Other times it takes years for me to receive an answer. Sometimes the answer is no.

I’ve had a bit of practice in learning to communicate with God. Over the years I have learned a few things about prayer. The counsel to “Pray Like You Mean It” is really good!  Here are some of the ways I have learned to Pray Like I Mean It:

Pray in Faith – Trust that God is listening. Trust that He loves you. Proverbs 15:29 assures us, “The Lord heareth the prayer of the righteous.”  James 1:6 says, “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.”

Pray Vocally – I find my prayers are more meaningful when I pray out loud. I feel like I am really talking to God. Also, I find it easier to focus on my prayer when I speak. Otherwise I get easily distracted.

Listen – After I have communicated with the Lord, I find it helpful to just listen. I often feel promptings and receive peace as I do this.  This is one way prayers are answered. Psalms 46:10 teaches us to:  “Be still and know that I am God.”  When we are still, the still small voice can speak to us.

Pray with Real Intent – It took me a while to understand the meaning of that statement. To pray intently involves focusing with faith on your conversation with the Lord. It involves closing out the world as if only you and the Lord are present during this divine discussion. It also means you really intend to follow the direction given from God when he answers your prayer. What is the point of asking for directions if you don’t intend to follow them?

 As I end a prayer when I have prayed intently, I feel as though I had been carried off to another place during my prayer. What a sweet feeling this is!

Pray Without Ceasing – It is good to always have a prayer in your heart. God can be a part of your day as you speak to him often. Kneeling isn’t always required. Prayers while driving work great for me!

Have Gratitude Prayers – A gratitude prayer is a prayer where we don’t ask for anything.  We give thanks for every blessing we can think of. These kind of prayers are so fulfilling to me!  I realize how richly blessed I am when I give prayers of thanks.

Pray Specifically – Be specific in the things you pray about. God is in the details of our lives.  He really does care about the choices we make. If we pray for specific purposes, he can answer us in just the ways we need.

Some time ago I was widowed. After a couple of years, my heart healed and I was ready to find love again. I went to the Lord in prayer to ask Him to help me to find a husband – one who was just right for me. I decided to be specific in my requests. I realized the more we had in common, the greater our chance for happiness. In addition to asking the Lord to send me a kind, righteous, patient, loving man, I decided to ask for things that might seem frivolous to some. Besides all of the really important character traits, I wanted someone with whom I would enjoy life. So, I asked the Lord to help me find a man who liked to play board and card games. I asked for a man who liked to dance. I asked for a man who kept a schedule similar to mine. I asked for a man who liked cats. To my eternal joy, the Lord was listening and sent me a man who fulfilled my every wish! Maybe he doesn’t like to dance as much as I do, but he was willing to take lessons. He doesn’t love cats as much as I do, but he loves me and understands my love of cats. In every other way, he ticked all the boxes! So, I encourage you to be specific in your prayers!  Pray like you mean it!