Learn how to pray

Have you ever been waiting on hold for hours on end, only to be disconnected when you desperately needed help or to make a complaint. You were then so frustrated that you want to throw your phone across the room. Hasn’t everyone experienced this?

Sometimes praying can feel like that. You so badly need help or to make a complaint and you can’t seem to get in touch with God. Or you are not used to praying at all, so your afraid you are doing it wrong and won’t even be heard. You might even wonder how do you know when He hears you…

Learn how to pray step by step

Even if you have no idea how prayer works, you have already taken the most important step. Learning how to pray starts with simply desiring to connect with God, to talk to Him. If you’re reading this article, you have that desire already, but don’t stop here, keep going, it will be worth it.

Step 1: Wanting to connect

Did you know that research has shown that on average 49% of people pray almost daily? African and Arab countries especially score very high, sometimes as much as 95% of the inhabitants pray every day. Of course, all religions are included in this and there is of course a difference in who you pray to. It seems to be a very human thing to desire to connect with a higher being. With heaven. With a creator. Or God. And that’s where it all starts. You wanting to connect.

Step 2: Making a choice

To make sure that you get connected with God, it is good to know who exactly you are praying to. The example of a wrong phone number may sound a bit bland, but if you just type in random numbers, it is difficult to get the right person on the line. It is the same with God. You may have to make a choice about which God to pray to. Do you pray to Allah, to yourself, to any number of other gods? Or do you pray to the God of the Bible? In any case, the God of the Bible would very much like to connect with you. Read his invitation from the Bible here.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

Jeremiah 29:12

Step 3: Get to know God better

Maybe you can skip steps 1 and 2 or maybe you are still exploring. Step 3 is the most important step for everyone to learn how to pray. Go discover who God is. Get to know him better. Find out who God is and discover who God is is not. He is not an online store where you can place your orders. There isn’t a complaint form where you enter your misery and press send. He doesn’t check whether you have completed a series of tests correctly before you are allowed to speak to him. These types of common misconceptions paint such a negative picture of God.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!”

Matthew 7:9-11

The very best way to discover who God is, is by learning what he tells us about himself. In the passage above God describes Himself as “your Father in Heaven”. A good father loves to talk to his child and to listen to them too. Even if you had an unloving father, its not hard to imagine what a good father should be like. God is the very best father who is genuinely interested in you. He wants to listen to you.

Step 4: Tell God everything

Do you have a friend you can talk to? With whom you can spend hours talking about life, the ups and downs? The best friends are often people who listen to you. And you can be the best friend by listening well. You have a real conversation when you both talk and listen. It is the same with God. God wants to hear everything about your life. What occupies you, what annoys you, what you love and who you love. It is best to send your complaints to God, you can certainly also share your desires with God. You don’t have to use difficult words for God. Be yourself. And do you find it difficult to find the right words? Then get your inspiration from these standard prayers or pray the Lord’s prayer. However, the next step is important: listening.

Step 5: Listening

This is where perhaps there is the most interference on the line. The Listening step. Prayer is a two-way street. God listens. But he also answers. How? This can be done in so many ways. God communicates from heart to heart. So often he communicates through things that touch your heart. Music, poetry, a special story, advice from a friend, through one-liners. The Bible is also a way to discover who God is and what he has to say to you.

Consciously set aside time to listen. Ask God: What exactly are you saying? Then open the Bible. Listen to a podcast. Stare into the distance for a while. Trust in God. And in yourself. That you can hear his voice.

Step 6: Be grateful

You always have something to be thankful for. However small the blessing may be. The Dutch woman Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during the 2nd World War, together with her sister Betsie who would not survive the war. But Corrie has preached all over the world after the war. A message of forgiveness, but also of gratitude. She tells the story of how her sister thanked God for the fleas in their barracks. Because of this, the guards did not dare to enter and they could pray and read the Bible together with other women.

“Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Step 7: Continue!

Keep going! Don’t stop praying. Even when the heaven seems to remain silent. If you want to learn how to pray, you have to keep practicing. Maybe even keep challenging yourself. Try to think about what could be in the way. What interference is on the line.

You know what can also help? Keep a journal of your prayer points. Write down what you pray for. Look back every now and then and be surprised by which prayers will all be answered. Sometimes you don’t even realize that God really does answer.

Also look around in your area to see who could help you. If it is difficult to pray on your own, ask someone to pray for you or pray together. Or send us a prayer request here. Our team will pray for you.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

Here you can find out what else the Bible says about prayer and here you can read what Jesus said about prayer.

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