1 Thessalonians 5: 16 -18 (New International Version)
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It is so often said that “Prayer is talking to God”, it is a way of communicating with God. We know that in building all relationships, communication is important, and so prayer is of utmost importance in our utmost relationship, our connection to God.
In my childhood, I was taught to say “Thank you God for everything” every morning and at bedtime. Then I remember being taught “Now I lay me down to sleep etc.” for bedtime and then moving on to learning the whole Lord’s Prayer and grace before meals. Prayer was and continues to be a part of my regular routine.
As I continued my faith journey, I realized that my childhood prayers were mostly those of thanksgiving. I became interested in other types of prayer, other ways of praying and more reasons to pray. I’m happy to reflect on the title of this article, “How to Pray, Why to Pray?”.
How to Pray? – there is no right or wrong way. Prayers can be said anywhere, any time, out loud, silently, alone, with others, in a special space or at a special time.
They can be simple, spontaneous, speaking to an immediate situation, or more structured, from a prayer book, a psalm like Psalm 23, a known prayer like the Peace Prayer of St. Francis. One can always say the Lord’s Prayer.
No prayer is too small or insignificant, God hears all prayers.
As a child, I was taught to kneel at my bedside. Prayers can be said in any posture.
Prayers can be said using a variety of methods like the hand model, each finger representing a different prayer request, or using the ACTS model of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.
Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Not only is prayer a relationship builder with God, as the above verse tells us, it is an opportunity to connect with God in every situation of our lives.
Our prayers may be a centering prayer, to become present to our relationship with God, they may be for ourselves, may be intercessory for others, may be for healing of people, things, our environment, our world, or whatever we may be anxious about.
God knows our needs. God answers prayer, not always as we expect or in our timeframe, however, always answered and in God’s time.
Remember to pray continually!
The following prayer not only addresses the pandemic/post pandemic times that we are living in but can also be applied to general life situations.
From the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer – A Pandemic Prayer
God of hope and love, as our world seems more and more chaotic in this time of Pandemic, help us open our hearts and minds to your peace.
Sometimes, Lord Jesus, when we are alone, bombarded by news and statistics, we may feel lonely, scared, apprehensive and afraid that nothing will ever be the same again. In those moments, be with us so that we feel your love surrounding us and help us to remember that you will never leave us.
Give us the strength to reach out to other people to share our feelings and fears and to listen to theirs so that together we may find calm in knowing that we are your people and you gift us with all we need, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day.
In all things and no matter how we feel, give us the knowledge and wisdom to always give thanks to you that the gift of gratitude may help us return to you and overcome the fear that threatens us.
Bless us God, who is Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.