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Ideas on How to Pray
by Monty Watson, senior pastor on January 26th, 2012

In a recent sermon on prayer, I gave a list of practical ideas on how to pray. These are things that some men shared with me when I was in college and some things I’ve learned over the years. Maybe some of these ideas can help you as they have helped me. [You can listen to the entire message at the following link –]

1. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He told them to start with this line. “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9). When you pray, think of Him as your Father. God loves you. He loves you so much that He sacrificed Jesus for you. That was the price He was willing to pay to make you His child. But, remember that He is holy. “Hallowed be Thy name.” Yes, He is our Father and we can run into His arms anytime we want, but remember that He is holy. He is the majestic Creator of the universe. Respect Him.

2. Understand that prayer is being with God. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you,” and then, “ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:4, 7). Prayer is about oneness with Him, about enjoying God’s presence, about resting in Him, about spending time with Him, about talking to Him, and about listening to Him.

3. I know you’ve heard it before, but the A-C-T-S acrostic is a great pattern for prayer. Begin with
adoration, remembering how great God is. Confess your sins to Him before you ask anything from Him. Thank Him for what He has already done for you. And then last, supplication. Let Him know what you need.

4. Pray Bible verses. If prayer is hearing the mind of God, then there’s no better way to do that than praying Bible verses. Read a verse, and then pray, “Lord, what does this mean? Father, show me what You want me to get from this verse.” And as you meditate on it, and read it again, and roll it around in your mind, God will show you what He wants you to get from that verse.

5. A way to stay focused is to journal your prayers. Kathy and I do this. Write down what you’re
praying. It will help you stay focused. And you can review previous days and see what you were
praying for and how God answered. It will show you the progress you’re making in your walk with

6. Make prayer a habit. When we talk about having a quiet time, some of you bristle. Some of you think it’s legalistic and some of you feel guilty that you don’t get up at 5:00 every morning and spend an hour of prayer. Yes, the Bible says, “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35, NAS). But the point is not when you pray, but that you pray. The point is to make it a habit, to see prayer as a necessary exercise to stay in shape spiritually. Find the best place and find the best time of your day for scheduled prayer.

7. The Bible also talks about spontaneous prayer. “Pray at all times” (Ephesians 6:18). “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Think of it as flashlight prayer. A flashlight is only good for shining a light on the next step. So, throughout your day, pray about your next step. Pray about what’s in front of you. Pray as you go into the next meeting. Pray before you make that phone call. Pray before you take a test. Pray as you go to the next thing on your schedule. “Lord, help me as I ____ … Lord, give me the words to say in the next few minutes … Lord, is there anything You want to tell me before I ____?”

8. Talk to God about your life. David said, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8, NLT). He is a “refuge,” a safe place to go. So, talk to God about your fears and your worries. Talk to Him about your doubts and your questions. Talk to Him about your temptations and your decisions. “Pour out your heart to him” and talk to Him about your life.

9. And tell Him what you need. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NAS). Or as the NLT reads, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

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