Finding the right way to pray seemed difficult for me when I was young. I had no clue if my prayers were heard or if they were effective. I searched for the best way to pray. I read books. I listened to sermons. I was on a quest for the perfect formula and for the words that would get the job done. Did God listen to eloquent prayers more than He listened to simple prayers? Did I have to pray for a certain length of time for my prayers to be answered? How often did I have to pray? I had so many questions about prayer and the answers were hard to find. I hit a wall when it came to prayer and I gave up. I didn’t pay attention to how I prayed. What seemed to matter was that I prayed and that was good enough for me. I prayed every day and my words were not sophisticated but they represented what I felt and they carried the message to the Lord. Then I found that the Lord is not far from us. I found out that He is not up on a cloud looking down on us and that changed a lot in my spiritual life including the way I prayed. I learned that God listened and that He never turned a deaf ear. I learned that every word was important to Him and that I didn’t have to try to impress Him with my prayers. I didn’t have to sound smart and to sound pious. All I needed was to sound just like me and to speak from an honest heart. God knows what I want to say. God knows what I need. God knows who I am. God knows what my prayers are. He just wants me to speak to Him and to listen to Him. An open heart is a great entrance into a strong prayer life. I opened up and He closed my narrow views about prayer.

I discovered the great world of prayer when I was in college.  I call it a world because it is huge and it encompasses so much. Prayer is talking to God and listening to Him like I often say. It is a declaration from our hearts that says that we are dependent on God and that He means the world to us. Prayer is a petition and a request on behalf of others. We pray for others to be healed or to be blessed. When I discovered that prayer was meant to move the heart of God so that He would intervene in someone’s life, I was touched. When you think about it, prayer is a great gift to whoever we pray for. We pray that God would bless someone or that He changes someone’s life. Prayer should be selfless and it should be an expression of love. When love entered the prayer equation, it was a game-changer. Praying without love doesn’t work. With God, nothing “works” if love is not at the root of what we do. “Love others” we are told and if we do love them, we will pray for them. “Love God” we are told and if we love Him, we will talk to Him. Friend, let love be the essence of your prayers. May your prayers all be rooted in love. May love be the force behind your prayers and you will see how God moves in your life.

What is a great prayer you might wonder? The prayer that comes from the heart and that is fueled by love is a great prayer. Give love a chance to guide you in your prayers. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. Pray for acquaintances. Pray for your schoolmates. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for people you don’t know well. Pray for your community. Pray for your country. Pray for the world. Pray for anyone. Just pray. Make it a habit. Pray every day. There are so many prayers that are waiting to be spoken. There are so many people that are longing for prayers. There are so many words from the heart that need to be released. My encouragement today is that you don’t get bogged down by how you should pray. Don’t worry about how you sound. Speak from the heart. Go to the Lord and talk to Him. He will talk to you as well in those moments. He will reveal His heart and give you love. Prayer is so important and you and I can be prayer warriors that touch the world one prayer at a time. Just pray. Just open your heart. Just talk to Jesus. The Holy Spirit will assist you and He will do what you can’t do. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 29:12; Matthew 6:7; Colossians 4:2

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