“The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12).
Recently, I received an e-mail from a new Christian. She had read my devotional on the elements of effective prayer and asked, “What words would I use?”
It’s an interesting question to which I have given some thought. How do you teach a new Christian the words to use to begin to talk to God? When mature Christians have walked and talked with God for a long time, they forget what it was like at the beginning of their walk with Christ.
She would need to be told that prayer is simply talking to God. He isn’t as interested in our words as He is in the attitude of our heart. Because more mature Christians often pray long prayers (whole paragraphs — even a whole sermon) in one sitting, new Christians are intimidated. They know they can’t pray like that — nor do they need to.
Using the acrostic, Adore, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Asking, I would teach her to pray in short, simple sentences — something like this:
- Adore “Father God, I love You.”
- Confess “I was (name a bad attitude or action) today.”
- Thank God “Thank You for cleansing my heart from these sins.”
- Ask “Please fill my heart with Your Holy Spirit and empower me to please You and get to know You better.”
When she begins to feel comfortable praying one short sentence, she could begin praying several sentences for each part of the acrostic.
Too simple? For some people it would be. Others will welcome a very simple “how to pray” outline. Regardless of how few or how many words we use, we can be sure that God listens to us, and to our hearts.
Jesus, Your disciples asked You to teach them how to pray. We also ask You to teach us to pray. Amen.
Articles on How to Talk to God
Prayer is Talking to God
Foundational Core Truths about Prayer by Sylvia Gunter
A Bible Study on Waiting on God By Sylvia Gunter
Continuous Partial Attention Is your prayer time undistracted?