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How To Pray From Your Heart

To better explain praying from the heart, we will use an analogy. Suppose two cooks are working. The first cook is cooking or working out of obligation. He doesn’t love cooking; the main reason why he works as a cook is just for the money. Because of that, everything in his work seems to be routine. But the other cook is cooking out of the delight of his heart. He perseveres no matter what the challenges he may encounter in his job because he loves cooking and takes pleasure in it. Even if he does the same task repeatedly, like cutting onions, garlic, and other ingredients and cooking the same recipes every day, he loves what he is doing. It is also the same when it comes to praying.

When we pray, we pray out of the delight of our hearts. We pray because, first, God commanded us to pray to Him. If God is indeed our God, then we will worship Him, and if we worship Him, we shall pray to Him. Another reason why we Christians should pray to God is that as Christians our hearts are already regenerated and turned from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh—meaning our hearts’ desires are changed. If before we delighted in sin and always sinned without any regard to God’s holiness, we now desire to live a holy life. Though still sanctified, our hearts have new, godly desires, and one of these desires is wanting to always commune and have a dialogue with God. If we are in Christ and have been adopted as God’s sons and daughters, then we should manifest what God’s children should desire, one of which is the desire to always talk to God, who is our heavenly Father. A prayer from the heart is expected from us Christians because if indeed we are in Christ, our hearts are already regenerated and softened by God’s grace. Even the commandment to pray to God we don’t see as burdensome but something we delight in doing because loving God means not seeing His commandments as burdensome.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:15

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

1 John 5:2-4

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

What does the Bible say about praying from the heart?

We will look into the very words of Jesus Himself as He teaches us about praying. In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus teaches us that we should not pray in public with the motivation of wanting to be seen by other people. What Jesus taught does not expressly forbid the act of praying in public or praying where other people see you, but rather the sin of praying in public so that you can impress other people and make yourself look good. Doing this would not be praying from the heart with the genuine desire to commune and have a dialogue with God, but rather praying out of self-conceit. Jesus taught us that when we pray, we are to pray in secret, where our Heavenly Father can also see us in secret. Jesus further says that great is our reward from God, who sees everything in secret. God sees our hearts, even if we’re alone in our room praying to Him. Even if no one sees you as you pray godly prayers to God – such as praying for growth in holiness and sanctification, fruitfulness in the ministry, increase in wisdom and understanding, and more – God sees them and is honored with the prayers that you pray. 

Matthew 6:5-6

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Another truth that Jesus taught us regarding prayer is that we are not to pray like the Gentiles who heap up empty phrases when they pray. Jesus pointed out that these Gentiles heap up empty words, thinking that God will hear their prayers even better. Sometimes when we pray, we tend to use empty phrases; not because we mean them but because we want to repeat them. It gives us some sense that repeating those phrases makes our prayers more powerful and effective. However, as Jesus said, that is not the case at all. Jesus said that our Heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask him. That is why, when you pray, you try to be direct with God. Pray to God, knowing you are talking to the Almighty God and your Heavenly Father. Talk to God with intimacy and reverence. That is what praying from the heart is, rather than just praying empty phrases in vain repetition and thinking that this will make your prayers be heard. If you are in Christ, you already have access to God’s throne of grace, where your prayers are heard. Christ is our High Priest, Who mediates between God and us. A routine prayer recited in vain repetition is never from the heart but from a sense of obligation that does not have any delight at all.

Matthew 6:7-8

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.0

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

How do you pray meaningfully?

There are no specific steps as to how to pray meaningfully. Instead, there are just particular things that you have to keep in mind. Even if we pray not out of routine or vain repetition but out of a genuine desire to communicate with God, there are still things to keep in mind when praying. One is to follow Christ’s example of prayer—the “Lord’s Prayer.” The Lord’s Prayer is not something we repeat but a pattern we follow. For example, when Jesus taught His disciples the phrase “Our Father, hallowed be thy name,” it does not mean that we should say that phrase every time we start a prayer. Instead, He is teaching us to worship and adore God every time we start our prayer because prayer is an act of worship to God. It is all about Him and never about us, regardless of what we are praying to God—whether for provision, help, thanksgiving, etc.

Matthew 6:5-14

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Another step is when we pray, we can do it meaningfully by praying according to God’s will. We will know God’s will by always reading His Word. When we pray according to God’s will, we pray for that which is good and acceptable in His sight. That also means that we should have a renewed mind to discern what is good and acceptable to God and pray for those things. We can have a renewed mind when we have the Holy Spirit, Who works in us as we read the Scriptures.

Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 John 5:14-15

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Here is an example of how you can meaningfully pray to God:

Heavenly Father, You are the God of grace and mercy Who empowers us as we do ministry. I pray that You will provide me with the boldness and courage to preach the Gospel to my classmates. Help me grow in sanctification; that the Gospel of Christ shall always be evident in my life. I pray that You would cause the ministry work that I do to bear fruit and that I will also be able to raise leaders who will teach others what I have taught them. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

How do I open my heart to God?

Praying from the heart is not just about praying meaningfully to God with the desire to communicate and have a dialogue with God, but it is also about pouring your heart out to God. Yes, we pray according to God’s will and follow the way that Jesus taught us to pray. But the Bible teaches us that we can also pour our hearts out to God, meaning you can pray from the heart to pour it out to God if you feel depressed, anxious, fearful, sad, or are experiencing any human misery. We have a great example in King David, who wrote some of the Psalms. One example that we have is Psalm 57, where David was fleeing from King Saul. David poured his heart out to God and prayed for God’s mercy and rescue. Despite David’s anxieties – as is shown in his prayer when he says that his soul is in the midst of lions and that he is lying down amid fiery beasts – David ended with worship, adoration, and exaltation of Who God is. It is the same pattern that we can do when we pray. If we are experiencing any fears, worries, anxieties, etc., we can pour this out to God but, in the end, we should be reminded of Who God is and worship Him for Who He is.

Psalm 57

If you are worried or fearful of anything, here is an example of how you can pour your heart out to God in prayer:

Heavenly Father, You are the God of mercy; my rock and my refuge. I am anxious about my needs for tomorrow because of the financial difficulties that I am experiencing. I don’t even know if I will have enough for the day. But LORD, You are merciful and gracious, and even in the hardships that I am going through, Your love is steadfast. You are also faithful to provide. I pray for the provision of my needs, Father, and financial breakthrough. I pray for more side hustle opportunities to earn more. Thank You because in Christ I am content, for He is the greatest treasure of my heart. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Praying from the heart does not mean you pray for whatever your heart desires—remember that the Bible says that the heart is deceitful. Instead, praying from the heart means having the genuine desire to talk to your Heavenly Father organically, as we speak to a friend, but with respect and reverence. Praying from the heart ends with our prayer not being about us but being about God.