What is the right way to pray? When is the right time to pray? These are questions I struggle with and I bet some of you do as well. I’m sure there are a lot of books on how to pray, but I’ve not read any of them.
I’m part of a prayer circle at my church. We gather in the Narthex on Tuesday mornings and pray over the concerns that have been shared on Sunday mornings. These are intervention prayers and praises to God. We look at the concerns and try to determine what we should pray for whether it be healing of body or spirit, wisdom, comfort, mercy, peace…the list goes on. Determining the need beneath the request isn’t always easy, but I am learning how to put myself into the situation and discern what I might need. It is a humbling experience. But even this does not take away my anxiety on the right way to pray. The right way to approach God. As I listen to others pray, I try not to feel intimidated at the words they utter so easily and from their hearts. Praying in front of others takes me out of my comfort zone.
My words are not fluent, nor can I quote scripture to add depth to my prayers. The only scripture I ever memorized, at age 5, was the 23rd Psalm. I know several scriptures by heart, but have difficulty remembering the exact wording or location in the Bible. Whenever I pray, I can only picture myself sitting at the foot of God’s throne with my arms uplifted as I talk to Him with tears pouring down my face as I am so overcome at being in His presence, at His love and compassion.
So I have this designated time for prayer. I haven’t scheduled a time with God during the week. I spend time in the Bible during the day when I’m at home and sometimes even at work. I participate in a Bible Study group and devote time in the evenings to prepare and do the lessons. I pray for God to give me discernment as I delve into the scripture. I have a daily devotion book I read each day, usually in the morning before I pray.
When I read posts on Facebook and see requests for prayer, I close my eyes and offer a prayer for that person. Sometimes my prayer is lengthy, sometimes not. I pray to God through out the day, but mostly it is acknowledgement and thanks for His presence and His help. It’s more like talking to my best friend. Laughing at times, crying at times, and just saying what is in my heart at the time.
I don’t know if there is a right time to pray or a right way to pray. I do know the Bible says when I don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit intervenes for me. At times, all I can do is simply say, “Jesus.” The one thing I do know is God answers prayers. The answer may be different than I expect, it may be answered but I haven’t recognized that until later. He will never answer a prayer in a way that will harm me or you.
As I finish my cup of tea, I think about the questions I posed at the beginning of this post. My heart tells me God doesn’t care how I pray. He just cares that I do pray. As long as it comes from the heart, and as long as my heart is right with God, I believe this is the right way to pray. And whenever I approach God with a heartfelt prayer is the right time to pray.