Now I lay me down to sleep
I ask the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I ask the Lord my soul to take.
Many people all over the world pray this prayer night after night, without even thinking of what it means. Some people close their eyes at church during prayer, but let their minds drift to other things instead of thinking about the prayer. So what’s the big deal about prayer?
Prayer is just repeating the same words over and over, right? No! Prayer is talking to God, just as you would talk to your best friend. It’s in the Bible, “Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!”(Matthew 6:7, 8, TLB).
Why should I pray to God? It’s in the Bible, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV). Prayer is a way of seeking God.
Does God really listen when I pray? Yes! “The Lord has set apart the redeemed for Himself. Therefore He will listen to me and answer when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3, TLB).
Does God want me to pray? Yes! He tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”(Matthew 7:7, 8, NIV).
Will I always get what I want when I pray to God? Like a good parent, God sometimes says “no”. It’s in the Bible, “And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3, TLB).
What things should I pray about? An easy way to remember to include all the important things in prayer could be with a PATCH PRAYER. P=Praise to God. A=Ask for the things you need. T=Thanking God for what He has done for you and how He has answered you. C=Confess to God the things you have done wrong. H=Help for others.
What if I have a hard time knowing how to express my prayer to God? You’ll find comfort in these verses: “And in the same way -- by our faith -- the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how to pray as we should; but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as He pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans” (Romans 8:26-28, TLB). The main thing to remember is to tell God what’s on your heart, and what is important to you.
How should I end my prayer? You can ask Him (the Father) for anything, using my name, and I will do it, for this will bring praise to the Father because of what I, the Son, will do for you” (John 14:13,14, TLB). A good way to end your prayer is saying, “I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.”
What does “Amen” mean? Amen means “May it be so!”
Am I bothering God when I pray? No! We should not be timid. “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.” (Hebrews 4:1’6, TLB).
“The Lord’s Prayer” is a great example of how to pray. Memorize it and pray often.
“Our Father 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 thing is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13, KJV).