Christian Living

What Do Your Prayers Look Like, Pt. 1

Cyril Chavis, Jr.

I am writing this as a quick and general encouragement for us in the area of our prayer lives. I hope this is helpful to those of us who pray but may not always know what to do or say. And I hope this is a beneficial reminder for those of us who have been praying faithfully for decades.

1) Are your prayers to your Daddy? (Matthew 6:9a)

Christ said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven . . .’ ” (Matthew 6:9a). Do you know that when you bow your head to pray, you are praying to your heavenly Father? You are praying to the one who looked upon you in your misery and decided to adopt you because of his great love and warm compassion. He washed you clean with his Son’s blood, clothed you with new garments of righteousness, removed Satan’s chains from around your wrists, and welcomed you into his household. It is almost too good to be true that this is to whom you are praying!

For most of us, God is not just “Father” but is better described as “Daddy”.  The word “daddy” has connotations of kindness and tender closeness. Your Daddy receives happiness and pleasure when his children obey his command to intimately spend time with him in prayer. Won’t you spend time with him? He desires you to do so. 

2) Are your prayers constant? (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 12:12; Luke 18:1-8)

Children of God are commanded to follow the old-school saints’ saying: PUSH (pray until something happens). We are commanded to meet with God regularly and frequently.  In theory, this shouldn’t be a hard thing because there is always a reason to pray. But in our sinfulness, we often prioritize other things over having a regular prayer life. This often means that we only pray when things are going wrong or when we are in desperate need. Here is a bit of practical advice: never let there be a day where you don’t pray.  It doesn’t matter if the prayer is only 15 seconds long; don’t let a day go by without prayer. Building good habits through mental toughness is key.

When I used to run for cardio during wrestling practice in high school, my coach would say to some of us on the team, “Why are you walking? Do not stop running!” He didn’t care if we were running slower than some people might walk; the key was that we did not stop running. This built mental toughness and told us that quitting was not an option. By developing this mindset at the beginning stages of our training, we were stronger when we finally developed stamina later. Not only were we in shape; we were also tough athletes who had learned that quitting was not an option.

Cultivate the mindset that quitting in prayer is not an option.  May Satan fear when you pray, knowing that your prayers are not only effective, but also ferociously unrelenting!

3) Are your prayers filled with confession? (1 John 1:7-9; Nehemiah 1:4-7)

It is beautiful to know that God invites us to confess our sins to him so that fellowship with him may be restored. I find that I must always intentionally take time in my prayers to find ways in which I have offended God or have fallen short by examining myself and thinking back over the previous day’s events.

This can be uncomfortable because it demands a certain degree of vulnerability and humility. Let the gospel of God’s grace open your heart to your Daddy. He is merciful and forgiving. Sometimes, confession can be an empty part of our prayers because so often we want to skip over the hard work of examining ourselves by saying a quick and general, “Lord, forgive me for my sins,” and then move on to the next thing. This is similar to when our parents told us to ask for forgiveness and we merely said, “Sorry.” What did our parents tell us to do next? They would remind us, “Say what you are sorry for.” They did that because it takes a certain level of humility and authenticity to describe your offense to the person you offended. Take the time to describe how you have wronged God and to process through your sin.

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