I’ve been reading a book entitled “Too Busy NOT to Pray: Slowing down to be with God” by Bill Hybels. What I want to share with you now is one of the chapters that really struck me. This chapter is called “A Pattern for Prayer”. Is there really a pattern for prayer? How do you pray? Is there a right and wrong way to pray?
This is how I usually prayed before – I thank God for all the blessings, I ask forgiveness, then I asked for more blessings. However, after reading this chapter I realized that I might have been missing something with my prayers. I still believe that when we pray, it will never be wrong. As long as we pray we will always be connected with God.
Anyway, let me first tell you about “A Pattern of Prayer”. Bill Hybels said that developing prayer fitness is like developing physical fitness: we need a pattern to avoid becoming imbalanced. Without routine, we will probably fall into the “Please God” trap: “Please God, give me. Please God, help me. Please God, cover me. Please God, arrange this.” Yes, that is correct! We do need to pray regularly in order for us to be more comfortable talking with Our Father. By praying regularly, we are strengthening our spiritual muscles therefore making our faith stronger.
But is what is an imbalanced prayer? It is a one sided prayer. In my understanding it is when we only pray to ask God about something and nothing more. I think there are a lot of people out there who only go to church or pray just to ask help from God. I don’t find that wrong because that’s still a good thing. They still believe that God can help them. However, that’s a perfect example of an imbalanced prayer that could lead to feeling guilty. Bill said that guilt leads to faint-heartedness, and that in turn leads to prayerlessness. When praying makes us feel guilty, pretty soon we stop praying. When we pray only to ask God about something our spiritual muscles are not fully developed and will not be strong enough to keep us together.
Now, if this has happened to you, it’s time to set up a PRAYER ROUTINE.
All we need to remember when we pray is the word ACTS. It means ADORATION, CONFESSION, THANKSGIVING and SUPPLICATION. Bill said that this pattern has been used for many years in Christian circles. When I prayed before, I always forgot Adoration, but Bill pointed out how important adoration is in our prayer. Adoration sets the tone for the entire prayer. Adoration reminds us of God’s identity and inclination. Adoration purifies the one who is praying. And God is worthy of adoration.
When we confess our sins, we should try and be more specific. I think it’s about time that we stop saying “Lord, forgive us for our many sins.” I actually tried doing it and it made me feel better. It made me feel embarrassed talking to God while admitting the exact thing that I did. However, after praying it felt great. Instead of saying the usual “forgive me for all the sins that I did” why not try “I lied to my boss earlier today, I plead for your forgiveness for being a liar” or mention specifically the things that you did wrong.
The T in ACTS stands for Thanksgiving. I think it is just right for us to say thanks to Our Father in heaven. God has given us all the things that we need so we should just say Thank You to Him. According to Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When we pray, we should never forget to say thanks.
But now, it’s time for supplications – requests. “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) If you have adored Him, confessed your sins and thanked him for all His good gifts, you’re ready to tell Him what you need. Let us all remember that nothing is impossible with God. He can always grant our prayers in His perfect time. If you need something, all you need to do is ask Him.
Praying has become more fulfilling after following this pattern. There is actually no right or wrong pattern in praying as long as we pray with all our hearts. However, we should also remember who we are praying to and what has He done in our lives. I think He is more than worthy to be adored and to be thankful for. Praying should not always be asking for help and forgiveness.
So, don’t forget to pray after reading this. 😀
God Bless you!