How to Pray: Part 2 – Vocal Prayer

Prayer, as I have said, is your relationship with God.  What is it that everyone says is so important in any relationship?  Communication.  That is what is so important about vocal prayer.  It is talking to God.  If you want to have a relationship with someone you have to talk to them, and that is all vocal prayer is: talking.

Vocal prayer is very important in Christian life.  We are both spirit and body and so it is vital that we use both in our relationship with God.  Talking is a very basic human thing to do and should not be left out of something as important as our communication with God.

When you talk to God, you do just that, talk to Him.  Don’t feel like you have to say things in a certain way.  God does not care if you are eloquent or not.  Don’t think you have to speak in King James English.  Really, please don’t.  Talk to Him the way you would talk to a close friend or even better a lover.  (He is the Divine lover, a topic I will cover later.)  Don’t think you have to be overly reverent.  Be as humble as you know how to be, anything else will be a lie or worse, come out of pride.  I once knew a man who felt he needed to start memorizing large parts of the Bible so that he could quote them as he prayed, because he felt that God would like his prayer more if he quoted His word back to Him.  Now there is nothing wrong with quoting scripture in your prayer, but don’t think that it will make God like you more or answer your prayer faster.  If you want a fantastic lesson in prayer from the scriptures, read Job.  Job talks to God all through the book, unlike his friends who only talk about Him.  Job doesn’t just reverently ask God what he wants, he pleads with God.  He questions God, yells at Him, and even challenges Him, and in the end God vindicates Job and chastises his friends.  The Book of Job is an excellent lesson in relationship with God.  It is a relationship like any other with its ups and downs.  Sometimes you will want to question God.  That’s fine, do it.  Sometimes you will want to yell at Him.  Do it.     Just don’t cut off the communication.   Keep talking.

Now if you are having trouble getting started I will give you a few “topics” you can cover in your prayers.  Don’t treat this as a formula that you have to follow, but as a starting out position.  Worship and praise are a good way to start.  You can use some of His titles and say some of the things that make God so great.  After awhile you will find that this is good for you, to teach you humility, rather than for God who does not need his ego stroked by us, but again it is a good place to start.  Asking forgiveness is important.  Don’t think of it so much as a list of dirty laundry, but as places in your life that you need His healing touch.  Reminding yourself of your weakness and turning to God for forgiveness and healing is so essential.  Thank Him for all of your blessings.  I like to do this often because it reminds you how good your life actually is.  So many of us focus on the bad and take the good for granted.  Thanksgiving both refocuses your attention on the good, and reminds you where they came from.  Petition God for what you want.  Not that He will give you everything that you want, but He will give you everything that you need.  It is good to ask though.  Again it teaches us to turn to Him and to depend on Him.  This is very important.  Many people say in a rather smug way that they have never asked God for a thing for themselves.  That’s false humility which is pride.  We should depend on God to give us what we need and ask for it, rather than snub Him and try to do it ourselves.  Also we should pray for others.  We call this intercession and is very powerful.  It is illustrated all through the Bible with Moses interceding for all the Israelites, and Mary interceding with Jesus at the wedding of Cana. Through intercession we show compassion for our brothers and sisters.  All this being said, sometimes we still need a place to start.  The Church is almost 2,000 years old and has had billions of followers in that time.  Thus, it has a great wealth of prayers, both ancient and modern.  Click here to find a few of the most beloved prayers of all time.

I will close with the words of St. John Chrysostom, “Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of our words, but on the fervor of our souls.”  What is important then is that the heart should be present to Him to whom we are speaking in prayer.

 

How to Pray:  Part 1 – What is Prayer?

How to Pray: Part 3 – How to Meditate

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