Someone once wrote, “Prayer is love.” People often think of prayer as something Christians have to do, or perhaps as something done before meals or with kids before bed. But prayer is love. Prayer is intimacy. Prayer is sharing life with God. It’s talking with our perfect and loving Heavenly Father.
There is no right way to have a prayer time with God. In fact, the best way is probably to do it in the way that comes most naturally to you. However you do it, the goal is to seek God and His heart and to pour your heart out to Him to grow in intimacy with Him. Though there is no one right way, we are going to provide a way that you might want to structure your prayer time with God. The nice thing about this structure is that following it will help you to have balance. For instance, it’s easy to spend all of our prayer time making requests of God, and we should make requests of God, but prayer is more than that. This structure will help you to not just make requests, but to have balance.
We’ve developed an acrostic to help you remember the structure. It’s the word PRAY. Here you go:
- P raise: It’s a great idea to start our prayer time with praise. Begin by praising God for who He is and what He’s done. This helps us to remember who it is we’re praying to. It also reminds us that God is great and worthy of our praise, regardless of our circumstances.
- R equests: The Bible tells us that we should talk to God about everything, and bring all of our needs and cares to Him. So after praising God, we pour out our concerns to Him. We ask Him for things, trusting that He knows better than we do, and so whatever He answers is the best answer. We have provided two prayer lists, one for items you want to pray for consistently (your spiritual life, family, friends, your church, church leaders, etc.) and one for special more temporary prayer requests (a friend’s job search, or sickness, etc.).
- A cknowledge: It’s easy to get stuck asking God for things, so here we turn direction and we acknowledge. We acknowledge our sins, our need for forgiveness, and our dependence on God. We ask God to help us stay centered on Him throughout the rest of our day and our life.
- Y ield: When you’re driving and there’s a yield sign it means you have to pause and wait, at least for a moment, to make sure nothing else is coming before you proceed. God did not mean for prayer to be a one-way conversation. He wants to talk to us as well. It won’t be an audible voice, but if you get very quiet and listen closely, God will often speak with still, small, silent voice inside you. It may be encouraging words, or He might challenge you to grow. It could be that He’ll simply remind you He loves you, or He may impress on you some cool thing He wants you to do. So in these last moments of our prayer time, we yield. We get quiet and we wait to see if there’s something coming from God before we proceed with life.
If you want to learn more about prayer, you might want to listen to these messages we've done at Verve: