How to Pray

We talk a lot about prayer. We say it’s really important, that it’s at the heart of all we do; we pray together, we pray alone, we pray in church, we pray at work. We pray long prayers and short prayers and hurried prayers and desperate prayers. Everybody prays sometime. It’s simple right? So why do we find it so hard? Why is it the thing we struggle to get out of bed for? Why is it the thing we feel guilty for not turning to sooner? Prayer was never meant to just be a popular activity that belongs in times of crisis or at cultural watershed moments, it doesn’t just come in handy in a hospital or an exam or a crammed car park. Prayer is the beating heart of the believer. It is the thing that sustains us, forms us, draws us close to God, shows us the Father’s love, unites us with Holy Spirit, makes us more like Jesus. So again, as we have done before we’re asking the Lord, ‘teach us to pray’.

1. Stillness

 Psalm 46:10

Crystal Cryer - 12 Jul 2020

‘The best way to start praying is actually to stop praying. To pause. To be still’ – Pete Greig. Too often and too easily we see prayer as an activity of busy-ness and action, in many way, a means to an end. Perhaps that is because we too are people of busyness and activity! Stillness does not come naturally to us, we find the change of pace jarring, we stumble into prayer and wonder why we find it so hard. Our desire over this series is to learn that prayer is not something we say, or something we do, rather it is something we become and it starts by being still.

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2. Adoration

 Psalm 103

Mae Moore - 19 Jul 2020

‘Prayer is more than you can ever imagine, because God is so much beyond what you can conceive’ – David G. Benner. Why is worship a necessary part of prayer? What does adoration of God begin to form in us? How are we changed, and how is our view of God changed by it? Praising God can help us more than we know, not because it stops us from thinking about our problems but because as we ‘hallow’ God’s name, all our stuff is bathed in the light of his presence. Praise, worship, adoration is a necessary part of the joyful formation of our prayer lives.

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3. Petition

 Luke 11: 5-13

Naomi Black - 26 Jul 2020

‘Our primary privilege as God’s children is to ask audaciously and repeatedly for everything we need, expecting him to answer, naturally or supernaturally’ – Pete Greig. Asking is probably the thing we associate most with prayer, it’s often how we first come to prayer, it’s the thing we do in the moments of panic, it’s basically prayer 101. Prayer is many things and it is incredible to explore all the depths of it through contemplation, through worship, through many other facets. But prayer, even in the very formation of the word, is simply to ask. What would it look like to live more audaciously into this privilege we have of asking?

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4. Intercession

 Acts 12:1-17

Andy Harding - 2 Aug 2020

‘To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world’ – Karl Barth. The greatest revivals in the world all stem back to a small number of faithful, prayerful people. Sometimes it can seem like our words are small in the face of the world’s vast problems, but the Bible teaches us that our prayers are powerful! To intercede is to ‘stand before God in the gap on behalf of the land’. How can we grow, and what does it mean to be people who stand in the gap and intercede for those in our lives, for our city and for our world?

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