Hi there lovely friends of Cat! Don't ya just love this girl?! My name's Taylor and I blog over here.
Before I talk to you about something that I've been concentrating on lately, I wanted to take a second to tell you a little bit about myself. I'm a college student at the University of Illinois. I'm studying Communication and Business and hope to make it in the world of human resources! I'm addicted to coffee. I suggest not even talking to me before I've had my second cup, because I'll be the first to tell you that I am not a morning person! I love being crafty and trying new projects. I'm an avid scrapbooker and love to draw sketches of people! I've been trying to take up running and ran my first 5k last October. I think the best thing about me is that I live my life for Jesus!
Today I wanted to talk about prayer. Prayer has been something that we've been talking a lot about in my community group. We've been looking into messages in the bible, including the book of John. My pastor has dubbed the series, "Pray like Jesus."
"At the center of our faith, and at the beginning and the end, is Jesus Christ. Who better to learn from about prayer than Jesus?" As soon as my pastor said this, I knew that this series was going to be something that I could really grow from. I pray, a lot. I've always believed in prayer as a part of my faith. I enjoy my conversations with our Heavenly Father and I have never looked upon it as a chore. Praying usually comes with a sense of momentary peace, when all the worries that lay a heavy burden on my life slip away into the hands of God. But I'll be honest and admit that I don't pray enough.
How is your prayer life? Could it be better? I imagine that almost everyone, no matter how long you have committed your life to Jesus, can admit that their prayer life could use an uplift. I am not alone here. And neither are you.
First of all, take a minute to remind yourself what a wonderful privilege it is to be able to pray to our God. And what a privilege it is to look at the prayer life of Jesus through scripture. From this, we are able to reflect on and see how we can model his ways.
Prayer is communication. It's talking to God. It's God listening to you. It's a conversation. How do you best communicate with God? Do you pray silently? Do you pray out loud with your children, friends, or family? Do you write your prayers? However it is that you pray, be sure to take part in the listening aspect of the conversation. This is something I need to work on myself. More often than not, I don't devote the time I should to listen in the silence. How can I hear what God has to say to me, if I'm not listening?
Jesus models prayer as a way of life. Looking into Matthew 6, we read what Jesus tells us how not to pray.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
When you express your faith, don't look like the hypocrites. The last place you need to look is to the spiritually loud religious people, who in the midst of prayer go on and on and on and you start to wonder how they got there. You don't need to speak a certain way in order to pray.
If you want to test your true motives for doing something, do it in private so no one notices. Like when you do something for your significant other, don't tell them. It's a selfless service. In a similar way, Jesus is saying to pray in private. Where the conversation can just be you and God. Where the focus is ultimately on the Lord.
Prayer is also not mindless repetition of the same thing over and over. Prayer shouldn't be the empty phrases that you say that are kind of like a rhyme and haven't originated in your heart at all. Like a message from the automated customer service representative on the phone. Instead, believers are called out to live an honest and open relationship with God our Father. Don't make prayer harder than it really is by trying to be fancy. To pray like Jesus is about humility, not boasting. Keep it simple, personal, heartfelt.
I hope that my translation of these verses are able to provide you with room for growth in your prayer life. I encourage you to continue reading chapter 6 of Matthew and even go through the book of John.
I also encourage you to come say hi and introduce yourself! I'd love to get to know you!
Thanks for letting me take over your space today, Cat!