Over the next few weeks, I’ve invited some of my dear blogging friends to share words of encouragement here on the blog while I rock my newborn baby and get some much-needed rest. I’m thrilled to introduce you to Karina Allen, as she shares the constants of a meaningful prayer life and encourages us to break through our preconceptions of prayer to discover the conversation God is waiting have with us…
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘prayer’?
Do you think in terms of a really formal setting using really formal conversation? Do you think of a certain posture such as kneeling? Do you think of a specific religion that is extremely structured?
I have come to view prayer in the simplest of terms. It is a conversation. It is a conversation between us and God. How does conversation happen? One person talks and one person listens and vice versa. There are no rules and regulations. There are no formulas. There’s no time frame. There is no hard and fast structure.
That’s the beauty! It can look however we want it to look. The Holy Spirit is always on the move. Our God is all about accomplishing something new in us and through us. In order to do that, neither He nor we can get weighed down with sameness and any sort of legalism.
It can be a struggle. We desperately tend to want a formula or a guarantee. We want this abstract concept of prayer to fit in a nice little box.
Although there are no absolutes, I have thought about some constants of a meaningful prayer life.
Keep the lines of communication open.
“Pray constantly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
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In order to have a fruitful prayer life, there needs to be prayer. We just have to do it.
Often, when I close my High School girls small group, I tell them that I will choose someone to pray if no one volunteers. I tell them that I know how to pray. They need to learn and become comfortable. I convey that it could be one word or one thousand words. Just be honest.
Our Father loves to simply hear the sound of our voices. He doesn’t care how eloquent we may or may not sound. Becoming comfortable with praying, especially aloud, happens the more we practice. I talk to Jesus all day, everyday… in my car, at work, at home, alone, with friends, with strangers, everywhere.
Where I go, He goes, so I can always talk to Him.
Prayer is about relationship, not receiving.
“That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” James 1:7
It’s not that we don’t go into prayer expecting. We just don’t go into prayer feeling entitled to receive.
God is a good Father who wants to bless His children. He wants to give to us and meet our needs. Sometimes He even wants to give us our wants. Beyond the physical aspects of receiving, God wants to bless us in the spiritual. First of all, He wants to give us Himself and then He wants to bless our souls.
All that He is and all that He offers is for us… His love, grace, salvation, forgiveness, mercy, joy, kindness, redemption, healing, provision, comfort and peace.
If you don’t have the words, it’s okay, He does.
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26
This is a fave verse of mine! This is me many times in my prayer time or during hard seasons.
I’m a writer, but sometimes words elude me. I can feel tapped out. So, when those times come, I just sit and listen for what He has to say to me. Sometimes, I sit and cry. Sometimes, I kneel or lie down on my face. I’m just camped in His presence.
I let Jesus do the heavy lifting. I let Him trade my heavy burden for His light one. The Lord knows our every thought. He can be trusted to connect with our spirits and pray on our behalf. And honestly, I think His words are far more effective than mine could ever be.
Here’s to the simplicity, ease and unpredictability of our communication with God! May He lavish us with deep intimacy!
If you struggle with praying, I’d love to hear from you and offer you some encouragement!
Karina is devoted to helping women live out their unique calling and building authentic community through practical application of Scripture in an approachable, winsome manner. You can connect with Karina on her blog, monthly at incourage.me and purposefulfaith.com or on Twitter. She is featured in Dawn Camp’s most recent release, The Gift Of Friendship.