The well known evangelist Billy Graham once wrote, “Prayer is spiritual communication between man and God, a two-way relationship in which man should not only talk to God but also listen to Him. Prayer to God is like a child’s conversation with his father. It is natural for a child to ask his father for the things he needs.” Prayer is a spiritual conversation between you and God. Sometimes God rings you on your spiritual cell phone and sometimes you make the call to God. Starting to pray isn’t difficult.
Just start with closing your eyes and focusing your attention on what is happening inside of you and say, “God help me to know you more, amen.” The words you use are less important than the attitude of your heart and mind. It’s possible for two people to say the same exact words and conclude them with amen, but for only one person to have been truly praying. There is no secret to sincere prayer other than your own desire to be in conversation with someone, namely God. If you mouth words but aren’t directing them to a person that isn’t a prayer. There is a great story about this that took place during the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson. Bill Moyers, who had formerly been a Baptist preacher, was an aide to the President. At a lunch gathering the President asked Moyers to lead the prayer of thanksgiving for the food. Moyers started to pray, but Johnson, seated at the other end of the table, couldn’t hear and said. “Speak up, Bill,” to which Moyers replied, “Mr. President, I wasn’t talking to you.”
When we pray we are talking to Jesus. We are communicating to Him the worries on our minds, the pains in our hearts, and the desires of our dreams. Prayer is the activity where you can make a difference in the world by praying for your friends, for world hunger, and the concerns of your everyday life. Spirituality is always rooted in prayer. A person walking on the spiritual path is always engaging in prayer throughout the day. Prayers don’t have to be long. Anytime I hear a siren I pray a quick prayer inside my mind or quietly out loud, “Lord help those in need, give courage to those who are helping.” I might be stuck in traffic and starting to get uncomfortable and I’ll just pray, “God give me your peace!”
While you will often use words to pray, don’t feel that you always have to say something to God. Prayer is possible without verbal utterance. Sometimes prayer is just sitting on the back porch in the early quiet of the evening, you are still and you have that sense of God’s presence in the quiet of the night. That is prayer. Prayer also involves listening. God answers our prayer through the words of other people, through the Bible, and in the quietness of our hearts. Sometimes people get verbal responses from God, but generally people describe responses from God as coming through an inspired idea, or a sudden clarity regarding a decision that needs to be made.
Prayer happens when the active life of God is recognized, experienced, and responded to by the lone human being. Prayer is not a means by which we control God and get Him to do what we want. Prayer is the means by which we stay connected to God. Prayer is one of the primary channels by which God can give you nutrients for your soul. If you starve yourself of prayer, you are literally starving your soul. The best way to start becoming a person of prayer is to start to pray. Start slowly and grow as you go. Prayer forms the foundation of the Christian life. In fact, the four letter word of spirituality in almost every world religion is spelled p-r-a-y. So get praying!