How to Pray Intentionally
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
A few weeks ago, I attended a Bible study where one girl claimed that prayer “was not for her.” Her fidgeting told me this didn’t sit comfortably with her (praise Jesus she felt she could open her heart to us!).
After listening to more girls in my community, I discovered many of us get stuck in the trap that Satan wants us in: to not have a personal relationship with the Lord. These lies sound like “I’ll pray later.” “I’m too tired.” “He doesn’t care about me.” “He doesn’t have time for me.” “There are more important things to pray about.”
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
It’s almost unbelievable that we can be in conversation anytime we want with The King. God desires to hear our hearts all the time. God wants us to call on Him in our daily thoughts. He wants us to actively seek His truth in a world that whispers lies, and He promises to be close and listen.
So why do so many of us pass up this opportunity?
A lot of us have asked the question, “If God has a plan, why do we still pray?” To be honest, I’ve asked this question several times (we’ll get to that answer in a second). I believe that this question can lead us right into the hands of Satan if we let it prevent us from praying. Once again, Satan tries to tell us that our time spent creating a relationship with God isn’t worth it, but God believes that we are worth His time and love (Psalm 139).
The only way to discover the power of prayer is by praying.
Here are a few reasons the Bible says we should pray:
It creates our relationship with the Father.
This is perhaps the biggest reason we pray. We are ultimately responsible for our own relationship with God and how rooted we are in Christ. If we think about our human relationships, they would never survive without intimate conversation, deep vulnerability, and active effort from each party. How can we expect to have a relationship with a friend, let alone, the Lord, without any of these things? Prayer is the exact place God calls us to initiate these aspects of a relationship. There is never any question about whether God is seeking you, but what are you doing to seek Him?
Prayer shows heart.
Prayer is the place where we should be bringing our darkest secrets, deepest pain, and biggest joys. Here is the chance to be faithful to Him, and let Him be faithful to you as well. Prayer is the time where we get to understand His heart, His faithfulness, and His desires (Ephesians 6:18).
Prayer is humbling.
We need to humble ourselves in our gratitude and in our worries. The blessings and wisdom we’re all receiving didn’t come from us. We can’t do everything ourselves, so here is the place to ask for His strength and His peace (Psalm 46:1-3).
It makes us more like Jesus.
Jesus was in constant prayer (Matthew 14:23, Matthew 26:34-46), and so should we.
Though God told us why we pray in the words of The Bible, there are a few things that tend to hold us back from praying. Fear. Insecurity. Shame. These feelings aren’t of God, so they should not hold us back from creating our relationship with Him. Let’s address some common thoughts.
There’s no right way to pray. Just go for it, girl.
God cares about the details. He doesn’t just care about the large things in your life. He was incredibly detailed with the creation of the world, with the making of you, and in the lives of people in the Bible (Check out Genesis 1, Psalm 139!). He cherishes you. He’s never too busy for you. He’s that great.
Yes, pray about that one thing you’ve been avoiding. Don’t push it off; pray now. Trust Him with your whole heart.
Here’s what we can do to make prayer an intentional habit:
Pray whenever you can.
Don’t go to sleep without having a rich, genuine conversation with the Lord. Don’t wait until the last minute to pray, because there is no better time to seek Him than now. Whether that’s in your car, at the grocery store, or while you’re studying, prayer should not be something we push off until later. Make the choice to reach out to Him any time of the day.
This can be a tough one because our minds tend to wander to the craziest of places during quiet time, but God wants us to be focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Share your time with Him. Close your eyes. Place your hands on your heart, but the most important action is to make sure your whole heart is reaching toward God. He wants all of you.
Pray out loud.
For those of us that can’t seem to stay focused during quiet time with the Lord, this is a great tactic to keep your mind in that special place. After all, you are literally having a conversation with the King (yes, it’s true!). This also helps to remind us that God is our Father, and we can talk to Him like we would our human fathers.
Open your heart.
God knows your heart, but he wants you to be willing to give it to Him. Here’s the time to be honest with yourself and with God. Let God see your brokenness, then let God heal it. Prayer should also be genuine. Speak from that deep place, not just what you think God wants to hear. He already knows what you need.
Pray for others.
If you don’t know what to say, pray over someone else’s heart. Maybe a friend, a sibling, or a teacher you struggle with. Chances are, the things you want for others could be a reflection of your desires for your own life. I also know how amazing a prayer journal can be for some people. A journal is a way to physically see your prayers and could be a very helpful tool in making prayer your routine. This could also be a place to write down prayers that others ask from you. You can be intentional with prayer for yourself and others. (You can pray about anything; God is amazing! TIP: Use an empty notebook or check some out here https://www.dayspring.com/books-bibles/journals)
You’ve got this, girl.
Prayer: Dear Father, I pray You speak over my life in every moment, even when I’m too scared, ashamed, or distracted to ask you. I pray to make prayer an intentional part of my life, so give me the strength, discipline, and focus to constantly bare my heart to you. You see me. You seek me. I want to seek you with my whole heart. Amen.
Meet the Author
Hannah Terry // @hannahjuneblog
Hey friends! I’m Hannah, and I just finished my second year at Grand Valley State University. I’m a Writing Major and a Digital Studies Minor, and I dream of being an Editor at a Christian Publisher. God hand-picked me to join the Delight Chapter on my campus in January of 2018, and my life has been transformed ever since! I will be a leader of the GVSU Delight Chapter in the fall of 2019, and I couldn’t be more excited! When I’m not studying or watching recipe tutorials, you can find me in a nook of a library, face hidden in a book, and munching on veggie straws.