In a poll last year, users of our Christian apps asked for help with prayer more than anything else!
In theory, it’s simple, right? As we teach kids in summer “Vacation Bible School” classes, prayer is just talking to God! But what do you say? What’s OK to pray about? And how do you listen?
Sometimes we just present list of requests. I believe that God likes that kind of prayer. After all, the most important thing is that we’re praying. Still, a deeper relationship with God is possible when our prayer life becomes deeper.
Recently, Eleanor and I have been teaching our almost-ten-year-old some new ways to pray. One is to listen to a Morning Prayer podcast. One is quiet listening prayer. The third one is a model for prayer. You may be familiar with the A.C.T.S. model for prayer. In the A.C.T.S. model, you start with Adoration (Praise), next move to Confession, then Thanksgiving, and Supplication (making requests).
It’s great for going deeper in prayer. For a child (and lots of adults), words like “adoration” and “supplication” aren’t so easy to remember. So with our son, we’re using a modified version, the P.A.R.T. model. In this model, you Praise, Admit (confess), Request, and Thank. I usually prefer to thank before requesting, but it works either way (or they intertwine).
If you find the Adoration/Praise part difficult, you may want to open with a Psalm of praise like Psalm 19, Psalm 96, or Psalm 100.
You may be surprised at how easy it is to confess after a time of praise. Praise puts things into perspective. Opening the channel to God allows us to be made aware of the ways we’ve fallen short, and confession sets us free from the burden of them! (See 1 John 1:8-10.)
Requesting is pretty easy. Keep in mind that according to Philippians 4:6-7, praying for others as well as for ourselves beings peace! So definitely pray for what you need. Then think about those you know in need. Pray for small things like those keys you lost. Pray for big things like an end to hunger in the world. (God may bring to mind something for you to do. If so, make a note of it.)
Thanking starts easy. But you may get stuck. After you thank God for the good things that happened today, what next? Here are some suggestions. Thank God for air to breathe and water to drink. Thank God for your life. Or the ability to see and hear. Thank God for beauty and music. Thank God for food. Thank God for the people in your life. Thank God for the Bible. Thank God for Jesus and the cross. Thank God for hearing you right now. Thank God for loving you. (How many can you come up with? How much time do you have?)
You can also thank God for what God has not yet done. Thank God for answering your prayers.
We’re working on an app to help you with this. In the meantime, trust that God wants to hear your prayers and they don’t have to be “right” to be pleasing to God.
What works for you? What do you have trouble with? Leave a comment here or post on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LookingUpwardApps
Learning to pray along with you,
Steve Whitney @ Looking Upward Apps