HOW to pray; is there a right way?
Today as I was walking to church at our “home” parish of St. Andrews, I was marveling at all of God’s goodness while listening to Christian music on my iPhone. Contemplating the words to the song, and praying along with the artists God began to speak to my heart.
There are several things He was saying to me, but one of the messages that came through loud and clear was this: pray, pray, pray; make your life a prayer!
It’s easy, isn’t it? To get caught up in everyday and forget that our world should revolve around God. I find this to be especially true when everything is going right. When we aren’t suffering, or crying, and we want for nothing then God seems to become secondary until we again, need to call upon Him in our suffering.
We’re that bad friend that only seems to pop up when we need something, or it benefits us…and yet, God loves us unconditionally through our faults.
So how do you pray? And is there a right or a wrong way to pray? My answers are based on merely my opinion, and my endless hour asking for God to speak through me, but to answer that question NO there is absolutely NOT a right or a wrong way to pray. In fact, I believe God adores our individuality and that we come to Him in different ways.
Prayer allows us to have a conversation with God, and to grow closer to Him and his will for our life.
Hosea 6:6 “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
God wants our love, our adoration, our attention, our commitment and loyalty! Think of your relationship with God as any other relationship in your life. Whatever makes those relationships thrive is exactly what God wants with His relationship with us.
So HOW do we get started praying? Although there is no “right” way to pray, over the years I have found several different activities I enjoy trying in my prayer life. These activities are especially helpful if you’re having a prayer’s block, or simply don’t know where to begin. What praying comes down to is God’s absolute desire to have an intimate relationship with us.
1. Prayer Journal: Having and keeping a consistent prayer journal is one of the most important things I have done for my faith. A journal enables you to go back over an extended period of time and really witness how God is working in your life. And forget all the hokey cliches attached with a journal. A journal isn’t a diary that contains a bunch of cheesy “feelings.” Think of it more as writing letters to God, daily, or three times a week, or whatever that means for you. It isn’t just for females either; males benefit significantly when it comes to monitoring their “progress” to a deeper relationship with Christ.
A journal is especially helpful on those days that Satan is raining on your parade. You know the days, where you feel inadequate, or that your hard work towards a relationship with God isn’t paying off. It’s a great to be able to flip back over the pages and watch how your relationship with God truly IS growing!
What you write in your journal is absolutely up to you! The formatting, word choice, dare I say grammar?! WHO CARES! Write your heart out. Make lists, draw pictures, write a letter to God, write a letter to the person you’re angry with, doodle your favorite scripture, write the lyrics in a song, God will meet you wherever you are.
So go to a local store, grab a journal that reflects who you are, and write your hearts out!
2. Christian Music: Another way to pray to God is through music.
Psalm 47:6 “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a skillful psalm.”
Have you heard of or ever taken the 30 day challenge? The challenge being that for 30 days you do not listen to any music that isn’t Christian music. Music that rejoices over the Lord, and praises His name! If you haven’t done this, I highly recommend it. It’s incredibly uplifting and fruitful.
Listening to Christian music, and rejoicing with the artists is another way to worship and pray to God. I love doing this on those days where my words aren’t coming to me. Or, on those days when I simply want to just bask in God’s abundance and glory.
The beautiful thing about listening to Christian music is that the words are already there to you, you need only invite them into your heart and make them your own. Listening to music and rejoicing also helps you on those days that you feel too busy to pray (which is never the case, we should never be TOO busy to pray, but drat if our human nature doesn’t lead us to believe we are 90% of the time).
I love to get together with my friends and swap our best Christian lift-me-up songs. It’s so refreshing to be able to fellowship with people who are as in love with God as I am!
The Rosary: Praying the rosary is a beautiful prayer! If you aren’t Catholic, don’t worry, you don’t have to be! In fact, I learned to pray the rosary via the internet believe it or not (I’m a convert).
I love the rosary for several reasons: it’s meditative, traditional, and universal. I like to call the rosary my worry stone, and I take one with me everywhere I go.
First, the repetitiveness of the rosary allows you to really get into the gift of prayer. You’re able to submerge yourself and not worry about what to say next. This allows you to focus on what God’s really trying to say to your heart.
It’s traditional! The rosary has been around for thousands of years…..THOUSANDS! Can you believe it? What else has lasted that long? Besides cockroaches…hmm…or, sharks? Or even crocodiles…yeah, I think the point here I’m trying to make is that only things that can withstand the test of time, make it for thousands of years 🙂 The rosary is so deeply rooted in the Catholic faith, and it is so beautiful to see and hear a group of God’s people praying together.
Not to imply you can only say the rosary with others it’s actually quite versatile. You can pray it by yourself, you can pray it in a group, you can pray it out loud, you can pray it silently; whatever works best for you and your relationship with the Lord.
Last, it’s universal. Like the Catholic church, when you pray the rosary you’re praying a prayer that has been said for thousands of years. You’re praying with millions of other Catholics, all around the world, that are joining you in this beautiful message to God!
How cool is that? I love that when I’m able to travel around the world, my Mass is the same everywhere! That God’s people are uniting in His name, in the same way, everywhere! Just yesterday I prayed the rosary at St. Andrews and everyone else was Scottish. It was beautiful! I sat in awe as I looked around at the blessings God gives us as His people.
I pray that one or more of these “activities” for lack of a better term, helps you in your progression of faith. Above all I pray for those that read this blog that God opens your heart to a deeper relationship with Him.
Are we not ALL God’s children? Amen!