When you receive a job offer . . .
When your health results come back as questionable . . .
When you need to decide on your future plans, moving or school or working . . .
When you did something you’re proud of . . .
Who do you go to first? How do you process your excitement, your news, and your worries?
While I would like to say the Sunday school answer, “Jesus,” I don’t always seek the Lord first. He’s often my last resort. Worse yet, sometimes I don’t go to Him at all. I most often end up dwelling on the situation or conferring with a friend first.
Is it possible we don’t come to the Lord first because we have a wrong view of prayer?
Prayer Myth Busters
When I was growing up, I was often asked by my parents to pray at meal times.
“But why does it have to be me?” I protested. My brother and I would argue over who had to pray. I didn’t understand the beauty of prayer. It took me a long time to break free from some of the ways I felt about prayer both consciously and subconsciously:
- It’s an obligation.
- It’s boring.
- God doesn’t actually listen or care.
The reality of prayer is the opposite of all these myths:
- You get to pray. You get to talk with the Creator of the universe.
- We don’t think talking with our friends is boring. Why should talking with God be any different? In fact, talking with Jesus makes our hearts come alive. He knows us better than anyone and wants us to come to Him with everything.
- Prayer changes lives. Prayer is powerful as God listens. He speaks, heals, comforts, and changes hearts. When we pray, we are more likely to see God in action and become aware of His presence. Even when we don’t see Him moving, He hears us, and we trust that He will work in His timing.
Prayer is living life with Jesus. We don’t have to wait for a transmitter, a perfect time, or a certain person to talk to God. We have direct access to the Lord. What if we filtered all of our lives through prayer? What if He became our first resort to process through life? Not as a genie to grant us three wishes or check off our wishlist, but as our Savior who loves us and gave us the ability to communicate with Him.
Praying at All Times
Prayer is woven all throughout the Bible. Numerous examples of people’s prayers reflect the status of their hearts and circumstances. They prayed all the time. We can pray at all times. Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
Here are five types of prayers for you to consider:
1. Thanksgiving Prayer
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Ps. 107:1)
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Col. 4:2)
And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.” (Isa. 12:4)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16–18)
2. Confessional Prayer
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
3. Listening/Asking Prayer
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6–7)
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jer. 33:3)
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! (1 Chron. 16:11)
4. Lamenting Prayer
In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. (Ps. 18:6)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Ps. 42:5–6)
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab. 3:17–18)
5. Intercessional Prayer
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27–28)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (James 5:13)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Tim. 2:1–2)
We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg on the topic of prayer in the Bible. The point is that you can come to Jesus with your heart in any and every condition. Through your highest highs and lowest lows.
We pray in order to be with God and know Him better. Even Jesus prayed (Luke 5:16). He stayed in close connection with the Father.
Is talking with God the first thing that crosses your mind as you start your day? When something newsworthy happens? Or when you’re doing the dishes in your daily routine?
The next time you’re tempted to worry or run to someone else with your situation, what are some ways you can remember to pray first and seek the Lord? Let me know in the comments!