Most of us sometimes wonder how we should pray. The disciples of Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 also wondered the same thing, and Jesus taught them how we ought to pray. The Bible gives us certain truths and principles to consider as we pray to God. Even if there is a proper way to pray, we can still converse intimately with God. For example, based on what Jesus taught us, we are to adore and worship God in our prayers: “Hallowed be thy name.” Even if it is something that we should always do when praying, we can still freely converse with God.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
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.
We pray to God by worshiping and adoring Him, praying for His will to be done and His kingdom to come on earth. We also pray for every provision we need. We also ask Him for help as we forgive those who have done us wrong. When we pray, we express sorrow for our sins and ask God to help us live a holy life. We also pour our hearts out to God and thank Him.
O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
An excellent example of this is King David. King David observed the proper way to pray to God. He worshipped and adored God, prayed for God’s will to be done, thanked God, and prayed to God with a heart of humility. But he didn’t pray to meet those requirements; he did those as he genuinely poured out his heart before God and responded in worship, whether in times of celebration, despair, grief, and a whole range of other human happiness and misery. He also praised God and thanked Him for those times when God delivered him from his enemies.
How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
We make our prayers more meaningful by remembering that it’s during prayer that we communicate with God. Just as we talk to our fathers, we also talk and spend time with our Heavenly Father through praying. If we want to make our prayers more meaningful, we are to pour our hearts out to God whenever we pray. We pray out of the desire to be intimate with our Father; this is what makes our prayers more meaningful.
How can I make my prayer more meaningful?
When talking to a close friend, your conversations are meaningful because you are talking with the desire to communicate with each other. You want to catch up with what happened during the week or day and spend time with one another. That is why we have this term called “heart-to-heart talk.” It stems from the desire to communicate and pursue intimacy.
Pray or talk your heart out to God to make your prayers more meaningful. That’s what makes genuine prayers different from routinary prayers—the degree of our desire to communicate with God. Routine prayers are repetitive prayers. Whenever we pray intensely, we talk our hearts out to God and do it out of the desire to commune with God.
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.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
What will help make your prayers meaningful is checking your heart. Are you praying to God out of routine or delight? Even if it meets all the principles that the Bible teaches us on how to pray, prayer is meaningless if it stems not out of delight but from an obligation. The Bible teaches us that we should do everything we do out of love. The apostle Paul said that among faith, hope, and love, the greatest of those things is love. The Bible also tells us that love of God ensures His commandments are not burdensome. Indeed, the Bible commands us to pray to God. We should do this because God is God, and prayer is one of the ways we worship Him. However, we should not drag ourselves to prayer. It is something that we should desire and delight in doing. The bottom line is our relationship with God. Meaningful prayer is when one pours out their heart to God and pursues intimacy with Him because they are in a relationship with their Heavenly Father through what Christ has done for them.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
[1 Corinthians 13:13]
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
[1 John 5:2-4]
Heavenly Father, You are the God Who provided Your own Son Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins. Because of Him, our relationship is restored, and I can talk and pray to You as the God and the heavenly Father I respect and revere. Always remind me that what makes my prayers meaningful is not the many words I say when praying but the heart behind them. Help me always pray out of love for You and the desire to pursue intimacy with You. Give me the grace to always fight for my prayer time with You. I thank You because in Christ I do not have to impress You with prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
What to pray for when you don’t know what to say?
It is important to note that prayer with many words does not mean that prayer has more meaning. Jesus taught us that when we pray, we are not to pray like the Gentiles, who heap up empty phrases thinking that God will hear their prayers because they prayed with many words. Even if your prayers are short, God still hears them if you are in Christ. A short prayer out of love and desire to communicate with God has more meaning than a prayer with many empty phrases. We pray out of intimacy with God and do not try to impress Him because He is already impressed with Christ, Who covered for us.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Suppose there are times when you want to pray to God, but you don’t know what to say. It is okay if you can only say little words—you went through something overwhelming and didn’t know what to say. You can be honest with God that you are overwhelmed and don’t know what to say.
Another thing that could help you when you don’t know what to say to God is to remember Who God is and what He has done for you. Pray to Him by thanking Him for His faithfulness in your life and worshiping God for Who He is. The book of Psalms is full of psalms written by David, who remembers the wondrous things God has done for him when he finds himself in times of trouble. He also praises and worships God for Who He is, meditating on His mercy, grace, faithfulness, and steadfast love. You can also pray in tongues because praying in tongues edifies the believer who practices.
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
[1 Corinthians 14:4]
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost
How do you nurture your prayer life?
Our prayer life is something that we cultivate just as we cultivate habits. It takes discipline for us to be consistent and nurture our prayer life. We must always put God above everything else and prioritize Him conscientiously.
Set a specific time to spend solitude with God and pray to Him. That is not to say that praying spontaneously to God is meaningless. But aside from our prayers, it is also essential to set a specific time for the LORD alone and fight for our prayer time. It is best to pick a place conducive to praying; one where you will not be easily distracted. When we pray, set habits, and fight for our prayer time with God, we genuinely mean praying to God and communicating with Him. An excellent example is Jesus Himself—He woke up early in the morning and went to a lonely place to pray to God, and He withdrew from the crowd to be alone with God.
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
Making our prayers meaningful is as simple as praying out of our love for God. This way, no matter how short our prayers are, they are already meaningful compared to a lengthy prayer heaped with empty phrases. However, prayer to God is not just purely talking to God. It is also our worship of God. We pray to God and are honest with Him, but we also remember to Whom we are talking. We pray to God with intimacy, respect, and reverence toward Him. We pray not only about what we want to say but also for His will to be done. We are also to pray for other things that the Bible commands us to pray for. Even though there are commandments on what to pray, our personal prayers can still be meaningful if done out of love for God.