Much of my life I have loved the idea of prayer. It has been my solace. I have run to my Father in pain (Job 19:25-27), laughed with my Friend who is closer than a brother in happiness (Proverbs 18:24, Philippians 1:3-6), sought out advice in seemingly hopeless situations (Proverbs 3 5:6), cherished moments of joy through prayers of praise to GOD Almighty (Psalms 34:1), or sat with the GOD of the Universe as I poured out the deepest pain my mother's heart could know (Psalm 27). Prayer has always "worked." It has not always caused GOD to behave as I requested, but when I approached the Father with a mind and heart that allowed Him to mold and transform me as He wished, wow . . . it really did something.
My prayers come in many forms- just ask my sweet family. I pray alone, with just my husband, just one child, just my three kids, as a family, or with friends. My prayers can be short or long. I used to sing a short prayer as I lifted each of my babies from his or her crib in the morning: "Good Morning, GOD! This is your day. I am your child. Show me your way." (Being the mom of a newborn, this was always just as much for me as it was for them!) I love to use Scripture when praying to the Lord. I also enjoy using a journal for my prayers. (It is convicting to see how egocentric my prayers are when I journal them!) Often when I pray, I try to follow certain formats (ACTS- adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) or I try to limit my prayer time to just praise, and then later I will go back and have a second prayer time for other needs.
In our family, we always include our kids in prayer- since day 1. Moms, teach your kids to pray. If you fear praying out loud, start praying in front of your kids. GOD loves simple prayers (Matthew 6:7). I teach my girls at our church that "I love you, Jesus." is a complete prayer- and it is! Moms, praying for your children in front of them will change the trajectory of their lives! Go for it! My kids are even OK when I let a few tears slide down the side of my face!
What a blessing it is, too, when as a mom you can ask your child to join you in prayer and even to pray for you! We regularly share age appropriate prayer requests with our 3 kids and let them take the lead. They get to grow and develop a prayer relationship with their Heavenly FATHER. They also realize that prayer does not go through dad and mom, nor does it just happen when dad and mom are present and say it is time to pray.
I think a key element to prayer is praying in the name of JESUS. I have had several times in my life when all I could do was say, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" over and over again. There is something about this name and all of the names that GOD uses to reveal Himself to us. Several verses in Scripture relating to this that I suggest reading are:
Psalm 20, 115:1
Psalm20:7 “. . . We trust in the name of the LORD our GOD.”
Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower and the righteous run to it.”
Matthew 6:9 “This is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven Holy is your name . . . “
Philippians 2:9 “Therefore GOD exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name.”
Isaiah 12:4 “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.”
When we pray in His name we get to know Him better. He reveals Himself to us more. Then we get to know His will more. All prayer should be aligned with GOD's will. This is hard, because we are one part of the conversation! So, we have a perfect FATHER listening to an imperfect child! Therefore, we must also listen. Several nights in a row I woke at 4:00am. My usual plan is to pray. This worked and I fell back to sleep three nights in a row. The fourth night I could not. Around 5:00am I realized, I was to "Be still and Know I am GOD" (Psalm 46:10). GOD wants to grow us and shape our hearts for relationship with Him. He cannot do this if we are always doing the talking. He wants to prepare us for a close abiding relationship, through the revelation of Himself as we pray in His name.
Prayer is and has been my security blanket. GOD has wrapped me in His presence through the relationship of prayer. I will by GOD's grace, and through much prayer, pass on this love of prayer to my children.
"FATHER, thank You for prayer. Thank You for JESUS and Salvation. Grow my heart into who I need to be for You. In the Name of JESUS I pray. I love You, Lord!"