Prayer is the best way to talk directly with God and grow in relationship with Him. Scripture calls us to actively call on God and trust in our Heavenly Father through any circumstance. Your faith life directly correlates to the quality of your prayer life. Prayer has the power to change not only the people but also the things around you. It also has the power to change you from the inside out. If you’re wondering if there is a proper way to pray, you’re not alone. Should we be in a certain position – standing up or sitting down, kneeling or bowing down? Is there a special way we should begin or close our prayers? If we want to know the proper way to pray, our best resource would be God’s Word. While there are countless ways to call on God, there are things that God encourages us to do and not to do. Try avoiding these things when you’re praying to strengthen your relationship with God.
Don’t Pray With Anxiety and Worry
Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It’s human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we’re not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what’s reasonable.
Philippians 4:6-7 says we should pray without being anxious, to pray about everything and to pray with thankful hearts: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” We are called to pour out our hearts to God and also be honest and open with Him, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves.
Don’t Pray Without Trusting God’s Will
We should always keep in mind that God has His Will for our lives and God’s Will may not always be in line with our own desires. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” So that means if we tell God what we want, He will give it to us, right? Well, not exactly. If you’re wondering why things aren’t going according to your plans, here’s the short of it. We aren’t aware of God’s Will. It’s important that we pay attention to the word “abiding” in this verse which means “to live in, dwell in and remain in.” When you have an intimate relationship with God, you begin to know His heart and have a clearer sense of the things you should pray for and what His will truly is for you.
Don’t Pray Without Giving Glory to God
Is your prayer to the glory of God? One of the most important questions we face in prayer is whether our petition is for our own selfish interest, pride or attainment, or whether it is really to the glory of God? Answers to prayer are supposed to honor God and bring glory to Him. This is one of the main reasons we offer prayer in the name of Christ. Jesus assured His disciples that if they remained in Him and His words remained in them, whatever they wished would be given to them. Prayer that is offered in the name of Christ and to the glory of Christ is prayer that God can answer.
Don’t Focus on Receiving a Blessing
We often say, “I’m so blessed” when it seems like things are going well in our lives. Without even thinking, we’ll equate these happy moments or personal successes to God showering blessings on us. But these pleasures and successes are not God’s highest priority. While it’s right and good to be thankful for the tangible blessings in your life, you shouldn’t fail to see that blessings from God don’t always make you want to shout “I’m so blessed.” When you pray, acknowledge God for your blessings and not just those that make you feel good.
Don’t Think of Prayer as a Magic Formula
There are some who believe that if we don’t say exactly the right things or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is unbiblical. God doesn’t answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, or what position our body is in. Scripture assures of this. The Bible says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His Will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15). Ask yourself does the prayer you present bring glory to Jesus? God answers our prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His Will and in the name of Jesus.
Don’t Pray Without Listening to God’s Voice
Prayer is supposed to be a time when we listen to God, but often our prayers are one-sided.Truly listening to God is an art that requires training and discipline. It’s very difficult to hear God’s voice when we are listening to every other voice besides His. It’s important to remember that listening to God begins with a genuine desire to hear from Him. God has spoken to us through those who were inspired to write the words of Scripture. His Word is still going forth and speaking to us. Our choice is whether or not we will heed the message. When you’re in need of strength, remember that God is the number one healer and can guide you in endless ways. If your heart and life are centered on God, His Word and His Holy Spirit, you can rest assured that He will transform you in ways that you couldn’t even imagine.