How to Pray, part 1

3152016prayAs a beginning nursing student, I wanted to know exactly how to perform nursing skills and exactly what to say to patients and to other members of the healthcare team. I was surprised to learn that, in most cases, it was far better for me to first learn why I needed to do or say certain things. First, I needed to know the primary principles to employ to give excellent nursing care.

The same is true for how we learn to live out our faith in Christ. First, we need to know God, the author of true Christian faith, and the guidelines and principles to follow as his obedient children.

Thankfully, God has given us much direction about how we should communicate with him, how we should pray. The Bible is full of examples of people praying in all different ways and at different times with hands raised up, praying out loud, and praying at all times of the day and night.

Paul explains in Ephesians 6:18 that we are to “pray always with all prayer and supplication,” meaning that we need to be flexible, eager, and ready to pray any time and in any way. As followers of Jesus, the most important aspect of our prayers is that they are all about God and our relationship with him.

In Matthew 6:5-13, Jesus gives us his model for true prayer that is not intended as a “prescription” for prayer, but as a way to humble ourselves before God. We are to ask God to meet our most basic needs for our daily health and well-being: bread, forgiveness, and guidance from evil.

The exact words that we say are not as important as the condition of our hearts and minds when we pray. We must always pray in the name of Jesus–believing that his life, death, and resurrection allows us to relate to God as our Heavenly Father, we must pray with faith that the Holy Spirit guides our prayers, and we must pray with a pure heart.

As Holy Week approaches, take some time to consider why Easter is vital to us as Christians and how we can pray and communicate more intimately with our loving Father.

May the Lord guide you into a richer, deeper conversation with Him!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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