There are many times when we talk about the importance of prayer and praying properly, but not a lot of talk about when and where. These are just as important.
The Tax Collector and the Pharisee: This parable does more than show that the Pharisee was praying for people to see. The tax collector went off by himself to pray. He didn’t necessarily want attention. In fact, he probably didn’t want anyone to listen. It was personal; between him and God.
The Importance of Prayer: Prayer is how we approach God. It is how we lay our hearts open to Him. He can see our hearts, but He would prefer us to show Him. Prayer is one way of recharging our Christian batteries. When we ask Him for strength to face a situation, He hears.
Go into your Prayer Closet: This is a direct instruction from Jesus. It’s also sensible. Prayer can be fraught with emotions, and having someone ask us why we’re crying or smiling during a prayer makes it very hard to concentrate on the prayer.
When to Pray: There are going to be times when you will have to pray in public. Terrible events often bring heart felt prayers to the victims and those who see or help. That’s not the same sort of prayer I’m writing about. If you feel the need to pray about something, it’s probably the right time to do it.
Use the Outline: Jesus’ disciples asked Him how to pray. He gave us the Lord’s Prayer, and we should memorize it. We should also look at it line by line. It doesn’t start with “Lord I want…” In fact, that doesn’t occur until half-way through the prayer.
Think about Who you are talking to. He is the Creator, we are His creation. He can change any circumstance where we are helpless to do so. We need to acknowledge that in our prayers. We also need to understand the part of “Thy will be done.” There are times when we ask for something that isn’t in His will.
Mean what you Pray: One of the problems of rote memorization of prayers is that we can say the words while planning dinner in the back of our minds (yes, I’ve caught myself doing that). It’s a struggle, but it can be overcome.
Prayer is our communication line. Praying alone helps us avoid distractions and concentrate on our prayer. Find someplace where you can do that…even if it’s the bathroom. It will make a great difference in your prayer life.