Fully alive prayer—communion with God—is the beginning of heaven on earth. Those who seek to develop a Godly relationship enjoy a blessedness unimagined. If you feel a yearning in your soul to pursue a deeper relationship with God and to fulfill his purpose in your life, here are eight ways to help you get there:
1. Don’t worry over the words you use in prayer.
Let your heart and soul guide you, and when you don’t know what to pray, ask the Holy Spirit for help. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Sprit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). If you need help, open the Bible to the psalms and start there; you’ll find strength, beauty, inspiration, and hope.
2. Prayer is a conversation.
You talk and God listens; God talks and you listen. Do you sometimes forget to make time for that second part? Even Solomon (1 Kings 3:9) asked the Lord for a God-listening heart. Do you ever feel an overwhelming peace after prayer? Did you read a Scripture with new insight? Ever pray about a dilemma and have a solution “pop” into your mind? Congratulations—you’re listening to God. And the more you listen the more you’ll hear.
3. Remember to whom you’re praying.
“I [God] am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).” He created the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon, the baby in your arms. The sunset, the rainbow, the thundering rain—it’s all his, yet he has time to listen to you. The laws of time and space don’t apply to God; these constructs are no more than divine accommodations to our limitations. That’s why he can pay full attention to you and to billions of other “you’s”—to the entire universe—without being distracted. When you call his name God stops whatever he’s doing, turns his face toward you, sees your soul clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, and smiles. “Nice to hear from you,” he says.
4. Memorize Proverbs 14:27 and make it a part of your prayer life and your actions.
“The fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain.” Resolve to live your life for what is pleasing to God, and to be “fearful” (as in respectful) of the consequences otherwise. This is what fear—reverence for the holiness of God—is about. If you’re honest in business just because that’s good policy, you are not glorifying God. If, on the other hand, you’re honest because God wants you to be, you’re using your knowledge to glorify him, and that’s the beginning—not to mention the essence—of wisdom.
This may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is that you’ll find joy in this kind of fear. Jesus said, “I know your works” (Revelation 2:2).” Nothing escapes his attention. That means that he’s there when you need him, too. Acknowledge that. Thank him for your circumstances, even in the bad times—not necessarily for the pain and heartache—declare that you still trust him and that you know he’s working behind the scenes for your good, even when nothing makes sense.
5. Ask yourself what fully alive prayer means to you.
Take a moment and answer that question for yourself. Is it the act of developing a deeper relationship with God? Is it to seek the joy of fulfilling God’s purpose for your life? Maybe it’s finding yourself blessed with wanting what he wants and expressing that to him. Perhaps you don’t know yet. Start by acknowledging that God, as your Wonderful Counselor, has a way of working things out in your life. A consistent prayer life often results in your realizing that what you want and what he wants are the same thing!
6. Let prayer be your first resort rather than your last.
The lyricist Fanny Crosby followed God’s will and was blessed because of it. Even though she was totally blind—a condition for which she was grateful!—she lived a wonderful life. She wrote 8,000 hymns and began writing each one this way: “It may seem a little old-fashioned, always to begin one’s work with prayer, but I never undertook a hymn without first asking the good Lord to be my inspiration.”
7. Pray the small moments, and turn them into an opportunity.
In heavy traffic? “Lord, keep me safe.” About to start an important meeting? “Jesus, may my work be pleasing to you.” Need to have a word with your teen? “Wise Father, help me be a good parent here. Give me wisdom and keep me calm.” Get the idea? Waiting in line at the grocery store, appreciating a work of nature, watching your child sleep—there are endless opportunities during the day to pray. String these moments together and you’ll soon be thinking of God all day.
8. Take a moment at the beginning of prayer to focus your thoughts on God.
Breathe in, breathe out, and as you do think about being in the presence of El Roi—The One Who Sees Me. Hebrew names often reflected a certain character trait. They did that with God, too, using a certain name to match the desires of their prayer. Focusing on a particular attribute of God allows you to know him better. HVHY is one of God’s names that is never said aloud, but you can pronounce the Hebrew letters as Hey, Vav, Hey, Yud. Try this: say aloud each letter with an outward breath so that it sounds like breathing: Hey. Vav. Hey. Yud. Repeat: Hey. Vav. Hey. Yud. Know that God is closer than the air you breathe, and think about this: What is the first thing a baby does? Breathe—or whisper God’s name?
Immerse yourself in an exquisite relationship with your Creator who delights in the happiness of his children. Invite him into your every activity. Experience the new depth in loving—and being loved—that fully alive prayer can bring.