I’ve always gone to church. At age 11, my heart was captured and thus I began my Christian transformation by walking down the aisle during the very traditional invitational song, Just As I Am. So growing up in a large Baptist church, being involved in everything from vacation bible school, youth group, mission trips and choir, one would naturally assume I would be well-equipped to pray aloud during Bible study.
During college, I was determined not to allow my Christian walk to fade so I joined a church and became very involved with their music ministry. But when the call was made “will someone close us in prayer?” I instantly bowed my head to wait for that someone else to volunteer.
After I got married, my husband and I joined a small evangelical church and again I jumped right into weekly Bible studies with a dynamic life group and did lots of youth work. But the scene was all too familiar for me when it came to publicly praying – the same questions of the past 15 years kept haunting my thoughts when I had an opportunity to pray in public.
What if I don’t know what to pray for? ** What if I jumble all my words? ** I don’t even know how to use eloquent words! ** I am just plain scared! ** But worse yet, what if I just sound stupid?
I just had to ask … What’s wrong with this Christian? I was a committed Christian woman who read and studied a lot of really good Christian stuff. I listened to Christian radio. I was really involved with many Christian activities. So why was this such a problem for me to pray in public? Then one evening God spoke to my heart about the lack of prayer in my PRIVATE life, so no wonder I couldn’t pray in PUBLIC. (Busted!!)
Not everyone is comfortable praying to God, but with practice, prayer becomes a very powerful tool in our Christian walk. And if we can perfect our private prayer life, God can work miracles to give you the confidence to pray in public because it will be like second nature.
Here are a few tips we can all use while growing closer to God in our prayer life:
Find a quiet place.
This is probably the most important element to a good prayer life. Hide out in a closet with the door shut, sit at that dining room table that collects all your junk mail, or park your car at the back of the Target parking lot – just a few ideas to find quiet.
Pray from the heart.
Just talk to God as if He was your best friend. Forget the proper grammar, using the “right” words, and just talk to Him.
Use a prayer journal.
Get a notebook and list your daily prayers – things you pray about for others and for yourself. It will help guide your prayers and keep you on track. Then periodically review your journal and see the miracles and answers God has provided.
Get in a routine.
Even if you have to start with only 5 minutes a day, pick a time of day and stay consistent. Then watch 5 minutes turn into 15 minutes which will then turn into 30 minutes or more.
Clasp your hands together.
Sounds a little childish to fold your hands and bow your head but it works! It will keep you focused on God.
“And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” Mark 1:35