So I want to share a simple pattern with you – using “P-R-A-Y” as an acrostic – to help make your prayer life more consistent… and more effective too!
I’m sure there are plenty of good methods or formulas for prayer out there. But, really, prayer is just communication with God. It should be easy and natural.
I’m a pretty simple guy. I happen to enjoy taking prayer walks around the neighborhood some evenings. As I walk, I tend to follow the pattern I’m about to share with you. I talk to God and unburden my heart. I spend time listening and praying in the spirit. It’s not mechanical or ritualistic at all.
I recommend using this framework, especially when you’re not feeling all that inspired to pray. It’s a pattern you can follow whether you’re praying for five, ten, fifteen minutes, or an hour.
P – PRAISEPrayer should always begin with offering praise to God.
Psalm 100:1-4 says,
"Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
Start by glorifying God and blessing His name. Thank Him for His goodness in your life. Tell Him just how much you love Him and why. Praise takes the focus off yourself and your struggles, and puts it back on God who is your answer.
R – REPENTObviously, we must repent of any known sin, but we also need to realize that it’s easy to allow attitudes into our lives that are inconsistent with God’s character. So once you’ve spent time praising God, search your heart for anything that might have come between you and Him, even if it’s a wrong attitude. Ask Him to put the spotlight on any area that needs to change. You may be surprised at what He shows you.
John assures us in 1 John 3:21-22a,
"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him."
When your heart is clear, you’ll start to pray with more confidence – and that’s God’s way.
A – ASKJesus says in John 14:13-14,
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
The only condition Jesus gives is that what we ask for in prayer must bring glory to God. But don’t just ask for your needs – consider others’ needs as well. Every believer should have a list of unsaved people they’re asking God to visit with His love and truth of salvation.
Y – YIELDOnce you praise, repent, and ask, spend some time with God simply waiting and listening. Assume the posture that says, “Lord, is there anything You want to say to me, or anything You want me to do?”
Jesus says in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
When you yield to God, expect Him to put impressions and desires in your heart. It may be as quick and faint as a hint of perfume on the breeze; but you will find that sometimes, the greatest of miracles can be attached to the faintest of impressions.
As you follow the P-R-A-Y way of praying, you’ll soon find yourself praying more consistently and effectively – and that’s God’s way!