Seeking God in Prayer
Not sure exactly what to pray? How and where to pray? We've got some helpful strategies.
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). How shall we respond to this invitation? Here are some strategies designed to help you seek the Lord in prayer.
Come and P.R.A.Y.
Here's an acronym that will help guide you in prayer: P.R.A.Y. The letters stand for Praise, Repent, Access and Yield, which captures the essence of prayer — to seek an audience with the King of the universe, the Holy One, who in the mystery of His character loves us and responds to our prayers.
Praise: We're to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (see Psalm 100:4). Sit quietly and thank God for who He is and what He has done.
Repent: A sober reminder comes from Psalm 66:18: If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." A spiritual cleansing is needed in order to come nearer to the throne of God.
Access: We're not telling God anything new — "All my longings lie open before you, O Lord: my sighing is not hidden from you" (Psalm 38:9). Even so, He gives us access to talk to Him about our needs and frustrations.
Yield: The fact that we have brought our prayer list before God indicates our trust that He will, in His time and in His way, show us the way we should go (see Psalm 143:8).
Helpful Prayer Postures
Did you know that your body can seek God along with your spirit and voice? God gave you your body, and He loves it when you use it to communicate with Him! You can use many different positions, or "postures," when you pray. Each one is a way of showing God what is in your heart and asking Him to meet you there.
Kneeling shows God that you are entering into His presence or asking Him for something.
Standing shows God that you are ready for "marching orders."
Walking shows God that you are "on the move" for Him, ready for His battle plans.
Bowing shows God that you honor Him and feel humble because of who He is.
Prostrate, lying flat on your face or back, shows God that you are in awe of Him and are desperate and hungry for Him to come and be with you.
Uplifted hands show God that you are reaching toward Him — in praise or asking for something with arms open to receive it. .
A Quiet Place to Pray
Have you ever heard about finding a "prayer closet" — a quiet place to get away to pray? The thought of climbing into a closet among shoes and winter coats can seem, well, ridiculous. But constant references by people of prayer to their "closets" can lead us to wonder if we might be missing something.
There may be an actual closet that you can make your own, a space that's now packed with boxes of old photos, blankets and craft supplies. Soon all the boxes and cartons will find new homes. Before long you will begin to feel God's pleasure at having made Him a sole priority in this area of my home.
Of course, you can pray anywhere. But you'll find that a special intimacy with God can occur when you come aside with Him to your quiet place.
Adapted from The Pray! Prayer Journal, published by NavPress. Copyright © 2003 by Dean Ridings. Special thanks to Jeanne Zornes for "Come and P.R.A.Y.," the editors of Pray! magazine for "Helpful Prayer Postures" and Sandie Higley for "A Quiet Place to Pray." Used by permission.