Faith, hope and love. These are three incredibly powerful emotions that have something in common — they’re all integral elements of prayer. When we pray, we’re communicating with a sensation of love and we’re filled with hope and a reassuring faith. The fact is, prayer has awesome power.
In a world of people with varying faiths, two questions regularly arise: “How should I pray?” and “When should I pray?” There may be no right or wrong answer, because prayer is a very personal experience.
Because prayer comes from deep within us, when or how we should pray really depends on the depths and strength of our faith. Personally, I pray throughout the day, often with a quiet prayer for strength and guidance. I will also say a prayer simply to thank God. I pray because I want God to be in every moment of my life and because I truly believe in the awesome power of prayer.
If we want to be closer to God, we need to make prayer a natural part of our lives – something we should want to do, as opposed to something we feel obliged to do. Having a personal relationship with God is vital for our faith and spiritual well-being.
If you want to know when and how you should pray, try looking deep within your heart and let the answer unveil itself to you, because your relationship with God is personal and you should simply follow your heart.
I want to share some wise words from the Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale that I find very helpful and I hope you will as well:
Prayer is one of the greatest skills in the world. It is the spiritual power that flows from God into our daily lives. Astonishingly, prayer illuminates problems, lifts weights, overcomes obstacles, restores health, and brings many astounding results.
1. What should you say when you pray?
Just talk to God as a child would talk to a father whom he loves and with whom he feels in harmony. Tell the Lord everything that is on your mind and in your heart.
2. Talk to the Lord in simple everyday speech.
Do not use an exaggerated formal speech. You would not talk to your father that way, and He is your Heavenly Father. In public prayer, it is perhaps proper to address God more formally. But in personal, private prayer you might, for example, say “You” to God rather than “Thou.” This does not diminish respect for Him but serves to make the relationship more natural.
3. Tell God what you want.
Tell Him you would like to have it if He thinks it is good for you. But also say and mean it, that you will leave it to Him to decide, and you will accept His decision as best for you and others involved. If you do this regularly it will be possible for God to give you the wonderful things that you should have. It is frightening, the marvelous things we miss because we insist upon something else, something only a fraction as fine as He wants to give us.
4. Practice praying during the day.
For example, talk to God as you drive your car. If you had a friend with you, you would talk to him or her, would you not? Then imagine the Lord is there, for He is, and just talk to Him about everything. If you are waiting for a bus, talk with Him. But at night, when you go to bed, I recommend that you kneel by the bed and pray. However, if this has been your custom and if it has become merely a formality, get into bed, relax and then pray.
5. Words are not always necessary when you pray.
Think how good God is, how kindly, and that He is by your side guiding you and watching over you.
6. Try helping others by your prayers.
Pray for the troubled or the ill. Pray for your loved ones, for people you do not like, and for those who have not treated you well. It will do more for you to pray for those you resent than for those you love. If you doubt this, try it for six months and see what happens.
Prayer is an emanation of power. Select some person who may be a problem to you and shoot prayers at him. Conceive of yourself as surrounding him with healthy prayers, goodwill, and faith. I have seen the most astounding, almost unbelievable, results.
7. Do not make all your prayers into the form of asking God for something.
Let your prayer consist of all the wonderful things that have happened to you. Name them, thank God for them and make that your whole prayer. You will soon find that these prayers of thanksgiving grow longer and longer, and you will have more and more things for which to thank God.