If you’re looking to get closer to God, you need to start with prayer. Prayer is simply sharing your heart with God. If you aren’t praying, then you’re giving God the silent treatment.
How many relationships can grow if the two people don’t talk to each other? Likewise, if you’re not talking to Him, how can you get closer to God?
Prayer is often misunderstood. Today, I hope to answer these questions:
- What is prayer?
- How do you pray?
- Why is prayer important?
What is Prayer?
Prayer isn’t as complicated as some make it. It’s simply pouring your heart out to God. Sharing with him your sins, fears, doubts, etc. Prayer is about praying for the lives of others and thanking the Lord for all He has done. As you begin connecting with God on deeper level, you’ll start to feel like you’re getting closer to God.
Prayer isn’t about heaping up memorized, recited, empty words as some have made it.
When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases… -Matthew 6:7
I have a friend who grew up in a different church setting. He believed that prayer was reading off specific “Church Prayers” to God. However, when you do this, you’re not praying to God… you’re reading to Him. Nothing personal is flowing from your heart to the your Heavenly Father.
How do I get closer to God when I only read things to Him that weren’t even written by me? Prayer isn’t about lifting up memorized words. Tell God what is going on with you. He loves you enough that He sent His Son to die for you. He wants you to talk to Him.
We need to tell God what is on our hearts, but the focus of the prayer shouldn’t stay on us. Jesus commanded us to love God and love others. Our prayer should reflect this truth.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” -Luke 10:27
How Do You Pray?
Should you pray with your head bowed or looking towards heaven? Should you have your hands clasped or at your side? Should your eyes be open or shut?
Honestly, there’s no magic formula to how you should pray. It doesn’t matter whether your eyes are open or shut. I do most of my prayer while I’m driving. If I had to pray with my eyes shut, I would need to start every prayer with, “Jesus, take the wheel…”
God is much more concerned about what you pray than how you pray it. Before we discuss what the pray, I do want to warn you on one thing Jesus taught. When you pray, don’t do so out in the public as a way of recognition for yourself. Jesus was against those who prayed so others would say, “Oh look, they’re really good!!” Avoid this. Your prayers should happen in a silent place or with those you’re praying with. Don’t use prayer as a way of showing people you’re a good Christian. That’s not the point of prayer. The point is to get closer to God.
Avoid always asking God for stuff you want. He’s not your genie. He’s God. He is working towards accomplishing His perfect will, not your imperfect wants.
Keeping that in mind, Jesus gave a model prayer found in Luke 11:
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
Jesus never meant for you to recite this word-for-word. That would go against what He taught about praying empty phrases.
Based on the model prayer, we see that the following things are important to pray:
- Thank God for being Holy. Pray that you will reflect His holiness with your life.
- Pray for the salvation and spiritual growth of others. That they will enter the Kingdom of God by putting their faith in Jesus.
- Thank God for His ongoing provision. Acknowledge that everything comes from Him and pray that He will continue to provide for your needs.
- Confess your sins and ask the Father to search your heart and reveal any sin to you. Turn away from your sins.
- Pray that you’ll forgive anyone you hold a grudge against. Pray that God will restore the relationship.
- Ask God to lead you away from temptation, so you can avoid it when possible.
- Pray that the Lord will keep your heart from sinning when you are tempted.
That’s a good prayer right there. Jesus knew what he was talking about!
Notice that Jesus didn’t instruct us to ask God for that new car or Ipad! If you often pray those things, stop it! If you want an Ipad, work hard and buy one. If you want to get closer to God, stop treating him like He is Santa Claus.
Why Is Prayer Important?
I mentioned this earlier, but if you don’t talk to God, you can’t get closer to God.
Jesus came and died for our sins so that we could have a relationship with Him. He wants to know what’s on your heart. Don’t give Him the silent treatment. Share everything with Him.
If you tend to pray selfish prayers, don’t stop praying. Your selfish prayers show the condition of your heart. Ask God to change your heart to be more focused on Godly things. Never will you be closer to God than when you care about the same things He cares about.
What does God care about? It’s in the Lord’s prayer. Love God and love others. The Lord’s prayer was given by Jesus to help us express our love for God and others. Communicate that love to God, and you’ll start feeling closer to God.
In Summary: How to Get Closer to God:
- Pray the right stuff
- Pray that God will show you the right stuff
Now It’s Your Turn:
Tags : Closer to God, Jesus, Prayer, relationship
- What are some great things you’ve prayed for recently?
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