Every time we initiate a conversation with someone, there are conversation starters that we usually use. For example, we greet the person with a “good morning” or “good afternoon.” If the person is someone we know, we can think of several different conversation starters, such as asking them how the trip they mentioned to us turned out, how they are doing in line with what we recently talked about, and many more. The point is that when we have a conversation with someone, we usually start it off in a certain way. The same can be said about when we pray to God.
Heavenly Father, I pray that You would help me be disciplined in my prayer life and that I will put my time with You above my time with other people. Make sure I spend solitude with You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How Do We Start a Prayer?
Our basis for starting a prayer is from Matthew 6:5-14, where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught in the passage, was not meant to be prayed word for word. Jesus was teaching us a pattern in which to pray. For example, in the first few verses, Jesus exemplified glorifying God’s name and praying for His will to be done and His kingdom to come. Then, He prayed for provision, which is the bread needed daily to do what we do in our lives, where everything is done for the glory of God. In other words, the Lord’s Prayer guides us in praying to God.
Since our focus is on how to start a prayer, our answer is already found in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-14. Looking at the passage, we are to start our prayer by glorifying God’s name. As mentioned above, you don’t always have to use the phrase “our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” every time you start a prayer. The main point here is to glorify God, and you can do that in your own words.
You can see the same kind of examples in other Psalms. For example, in Psalm 40 David asks for help and deliverance from God, and the Psalm begins with the glorification of God. In the first few passages, David exalts God as someone Who hears his cries, draws him up from the pit of destruction, makes his steps secure, and puts a new song in his mouth.
Given that, below is an example of how you can start a prayer in a similar way, even with a different kind of prayer:
Heavenly Father, You are sovereign and the One enthroned in the heavens. You rule everything with Your hand. Therefore, I won’t be afraid of whatever uncertainties I may face, for You reign over everything and have already gone before me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The start of your prayer, where you glorify God, does not have to be long. However, ensure you don’t say certain things just because it is a pattern you are used to. In Matthew 6:5-14, Jesus teaches us not to heap up empty phrases. It means that we are not to make any of our prayers unnecessarily long, thinking that God will hear them better. When we glorify God at the start of our prayer, we do it not because it is how we always start a prayer but because God deserves to be praised, worshiped, and glorified.
Why Start Off A Prayer In Such A Way?
First, we start our prayers by glorifying God, as shown in the Lord’s Prayer, because that is what Jesus taught us. Second, God deserves all praise, worship, and glory (Revelation 4:11)(Romans 11:36)(Psalm 29:1-2). That is why, as mentioned above, when we start off our prayers in a certain way, we are to make sure that we mean what we say in our praise and glorification of God. Prayer doesn’t have to be said in some pattern that we think we have to use. (Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11) (For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11:36) (Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:1-2)
Also, it is essential to note that God is our heavenly Father. While He is indeed God, and we must respect and revere Him, He is also our Father. Sometimes it is okay not to start our prayer by instantly glorifying God. For example, let’s say something very painful has happened, and our first thought is to pray to God to vent our hearts and feelings. God, as our Father, is more than willing to listen to us. He is not an inconsiderate Father Who will tell us first to glorify and praise Him before proceeding with what we want to tell Him.
Yet, one of the benefits of starting our prayer with praise and adoration of God is that this magnifies God over us and our situation. It humbles us that when we thank God for whatever we appreciate Him for, it is all to honor Him. When we praise and glorify God in times of trouble, we pay more attention to Who God is than what our problems are. The Book of Psalms is filled with verses about Who God is and what He does, and it is what the authors took comfort in.