G2: 1st Steps
Healthy Habit 2: Prayer
Prayer is just conversation between you and God.
You don’t have to use fancy, spiritual-sounding words. Just talk. Talk to God like you would talk to any friend.
Prayer is one of the ways we connect with God. It helps us build a deeper relationship with Him.
Think about it, the more you talk to your friends and listen to what they say, the deeper your relationship with them – you are more connected to them.
The more you talk to God the deeper your relationship with Him will be.
Prayer also helps YOU! You know how sometimes you just need to talk to a friend? There’s something special – something healing – about being able to talk to someone who cares for you and share what’s going on in your life.
Talking to God is just as special and can be very healing! When you pray you are sharing your heart with God. You share your needs, your joys, your fears/anxieties, etc.
He wants to hear from you! He wants to bring you calm in your storm, peace in your anxieties, joy in your anguish.
Prayer is one of the ways that God wants to connect with you! Restore you! Grow you!
Well, as stated earlier, you don’t have to use a lot of fancy words. Just talk.
There’s no official formula for prayer. But the Bible does give us some principles to use as we pray.
1. Authority: Recognize God’s authority and submit yourself to Him (Matthew 6.9-10).
2. Adoration: Proclaim the goodness and majesty of God. Exclaim His goodness, love, mercy, holiness, righteousness (Psalm 63.1-8; Matthew 6.9).
3. Gratitude: Thank Him for all that He has done for you and has given to you (1 Thessalonians 5.17). Even thank Him for the hard things, the difficulties that you are experiencing. Ask Him to teach you and help you grow in the midst of suffering (James 1.2-4; 2 Corinthians 12.8-10).
4. Confession & Forgiveness: Confess to Him any sin in your life. Seek forgiveness in your repentance (turning away from that sin). He will forgive you! (1 John 1.9)
Ask for strength to resist temptation. (1 Corinthians 10.13; 2 Timothy 2.22)
5. Ask: Ask God to meet needs that you or others may have. God desires to meet your genuine needs. (Psalm 37.4; Philippians 4.6) Just ask.
But also recognize that He may choose to answer your prayer in a manner different than what you imagined (Isaiah 55.8-9). Ask for the grace to accept His answer.
Something to remember: God is not a cosmic Santa Claus or magic genie who is obligated to give us presents or grant 3 wishes! God is the powerful, loving Creator who knows you better than you know yourself. He answers prayers according to His divine plan and will.
For many of us there are 3 basic times we pray:
1. Mealtimes. We may pray before a meal or after if we forgot to pray before we ate! (“God is good, God is great, thank you for the food we just ate.”)
2. Bad times. We often pray hoping God will get us out of a jam: a big test we didn’t study for or if we’re about to get into trouble. (“God please HELP me!)
3. Needy times. Mostly we pray because we want something. (“God give me a girlfriend.” “God help me make the varsity team.” “God help my team win.”)
These are all good times to pray. God does want us to be thankful for our food that He provides, and He does want us to ask Him to meet our needs. However, those aren’t the only times we should pray!
We should pray in our daily time with God. Reading the Bible and prayer go hand-in-hand.
But we can also pray throughout the day. Pray while you’re driving to school (don’t close your eyes!).
Pray while you’re walking between classes.
Pray while you’re waiting in line at a fast food restaurant.
What do you pray for in those moments? Well, ANYTHING!
Take the time to thank God for the people He is putting in your path. Ask Him for opportunities to show kindness to those around you.
Tell Him you love Him! Take a moment to be in awe of Him and to proclaim His goodness and His greatness!
Ask for grace in the midst of a hard situation.
You get the idea. Short, random conversations that connect you with Him throughout the day!
Notice that these kinds of prayers are less focused on you and your needs and more focused on God and others!
Yes! But maybe not quite like you are used to.
God will speak to you through His spirit. The Bible calls the spirit of God the Holy Spirit.
When you talk to God, let Him speak to your spirit through the Holy Spirit.
The closer you grow to God the easier it is to hear Him and to discern His Spirit speaking to you.
Note: The Holy Spirit will never tell you something that conflicts with the truth in the Bible. I’ve had students tell me, “I prayed about it (whatever it was) and God told me it was okay.” But the it in question clearly violated God’s word.
I can assure you, they weren’t listening to God, but rather listening to their own desires and trying to make it okay by saying, “God said it was okay.”