There’s no way to make an ice cream sundae wrong.
Do you like bananas? Throw some in.
Do you like chocolate syrup? Pour it on.
Do you like sprinkles, cherries, whipped cream, walnuts or pickles? Go ahead and…wait, pickles? Ok, put those on there too. We’re only imagining, right?
The point is that we all have different tastes. We all have a different history with ice cream and we know what we like. And unless you’re lactose intolerant, making an ice cream sundae should excite you.
The last couple weeks we’ve been talking about how to pray. You can check those out here and here. Both weeks stressed the main points of prayer: thanking God, praising God, and submitting to God. This week I want to conclude our discussion on prayer by giving you 5 more ways to pray.
- PACT – this stands for Praise, Ask, Confess, and Thank. Spending time in each of these areas when we pray is key to drawing closer to God and feeling more of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Also, it’s kind of cool to think of prayer like a pact. Our relationship with God is, after all, a 2-way street. We bring all the baggage and needs, and God brings all the help and healing.
Let’s define a few terms:
Praise – telling God how awesome he is
Ask – making our requests to God
Confess – being honest with God that we sinned
Thank – saying to God what we’re grateful for
- Musical worship – growing up in predominantly white evangelicalism, the music in my churches was supposed to conjure emotions, but it was inappropriate to express them in church. If a song was really touching a nerve, I might shed a silent tear and close my eyes.
But worshipping with music is supposed to be expressive. We use music when we worship to speak the language of our souls. So when we worship God with music, singing, playing, dancing, bowing, painting, etc. we are speaking directly from our hearts to God’s. God loves the music we make for him. Sometimes that means we’re silent before him, but worshipping is prayer. Express yourself.
- Scripture – this might mean praying:
A psalm: if you’re angry, afraid, depressed, elated, lonely, or any other emotion, there’s a psalm for you.
A passage: Ephesians 1:17-23, Philippians 4:8, or 3 John 2. There are countless more. When we speak the Holy Spirit’s words in Scripture back to him, our prayers pack an extra punch. They contain Truth.
- A written prayer – which can come in one of two different forms: ones you write and ones written by others.
Prayers you write are usually through journaling. If you’re looking for a way to gauge God’s faithfulness, a prayer journal is key. Being able to look back on the prayers of your past through the lens of your current life, you start to see what God was doing. In my own life, the one time I successfully journaled prayers was before I met my wife. I wrote down prayers for my future wife. Now looking back on those prayers 20 years later, I see that God was at work in me.
Reading a pre-written prayer does not make it less heartfelt, meaningful, or effective. Consider it like finding the perfect anniversary card for your spouse. Sometimes, Hallmark says it better.
- The Lord’s Prayer – no discussion on prayer is complete without including the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus was asked by his first disciples how to pray, this is literally the prayer he gave them. Did he mean for us to recite it? (See discussion of #4 above). Yes, certainly. Did he mean for it to be a guide for how we pray? Yes, certainly.
Think of it this way. If you asked God a direct question like, “How should I invest my money?” and the response was clear and direct, “Only buy physical gold and real estate” what would we do? I’d be selling all my stocks and buying gold and rental properties. This exchange with the disciples was no less clear.
“Jesus, how should we pray?”
“Pray like this…”
Finding the style, the approach that is needed with your prayer is a matter of need. Just like there are many ways to make a delicious sundae, there are many ways to pray. The point is that you do it.
If you’re wondering about how to find time to pray at all, I have a blogger friend who has discussed this. Check it out at onelostcoin.com.
What are some other ways you have learned to pray? Is it a chore for you or does it flow from you easily? Please comment below.