7/19/2012

How Should We Pray?


Outside of my home church, I have a circle of friends who don't share my faith. But when we're together, they request me to pray for the food or for someone sick.

“How you pray is something I hope I can do, too,” my friend B told me  after one prayer, “but I can't compose it the way you can.”   

“I don't know how to pray, period,” added M. “I have thoughts, but not the right words—like Grace has.”    

Uh-oh. If my friends think I have the right words and say well-composed prayers, then I have not been praying the way I should—not when I pray aloud anyway.      

I have been taught and I have always known that praying is not having the right words, phraseology, or syntax. Prayers need not be eloquent and well-composed; they should come from the heart. 

How then should we pray?

There are many answers in the Scriptures. Let me quote those that are closest to my understanding:   

 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 1:20) 

“. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 26-27) 

We all really do not know what we ought to pray for. But the Spirit helps us, keeps our hearts and minds in tune with the will of God.

So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit?

When Jesus went back to heaven, He left His Spirit in every believer's heart. Therefore, praying in the spirit refers not to a particular method of praying—but to a total attitude. Prayer is not an adjunct to our lives; it's fundamental in our relationship with God’s word, God’s Spirit, God’s gift of faith.

Unlike a hotline that is used only when there's an emergency, prayer should be on 24/7, waiting to hear from God's spirit at all times. It’s an open line to God.

Praying in the Spirit is being so in touch with God that you pray what God puts in your heart. Prayer is not about getting things from the Giver; it’s about aligning ourselves with His will. So when the answer comes, whatever if may be, we are ready to accept it.

My friend Ernie said it best, “Praying in the spirit means you are so focused on God that the only thing that matters is what matters to Him.”

In Gethsemane, before He was arrested and made to suffer on the cross, Jesus pleaded to God, “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

When we pray in the spirit, we don't worry about our words, our syntax, or whatever else we worry about when we lead in a group, because the Spirit will lead us if we allow Him to. And then we experience the presence of God in a powerful way.

Praying in the Spirit, in sum, is letting God lead in our prayers at all times.

Lord, by Your grace, may our every prayer be led by the Your Spirit.

8 comments:

Olivr said...

ya. praying. speechless.

Vie Velasco said...

Is it birthday today, Ms. Grace? I read in Waht's For Breakfast! Happy Birthday and God bless you!

Grace D. Chong said...

Dear Olivr,

You and I are praying. Am speechless, too. Thank you for the message.

Grace D. Chong said...

Dear Vie,

Oh,yeah, I've forgotten about that post in WFB. I am honored that you read it. Thank you for remembering.

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Praying is Spirit to Spirit. If it were just based on eloquence, our prayers would not even reach heaven---because someone would be at the gate to edit or say our syntax or grammar is bad. Aw!

The Dragon Scribe said...

Many people pray in various ways, for a gazillion reasons. But the most powerful prayer are the once said without words, and when one prays alone in the confines of his room, that I believe is a prayer of the highest state.

My mom also told me that the most powerful prayers come from kids, because their hearts are the purest.

Grace D. Chong said...

Hi, Yay! Praying is not "English for Business," where I ruthlessly mutilate (mea culpa) ungrammatical sentences. Hahaha! See you soon.

Grace D. Chong said...

Dear Dragon Scribe,

Funny, I sometimes find myself praying in three languages--Filipino, Ilocano (I consider this a language!) and English. But I am sure the Lord doesn't mind because He looks at the heart.