How to Talk to God
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Nothing will change a person’s life like really learning how to pray. It’s one of life’s most powerful lessons. And yet, astonishingly, we don’t teach people how to talk to God. We don’t teach them to pray with their hearts in a deeply personal way…
If you do nothing else with your life, develop an amazing friendship with God. Become a man or woman of prayer. This friendship will change the way you see yourself and the world. It will rearrange your priorities, as love always does. It will give you clarity and joy. We learn to live deeply by praying deeply. Find that place within you where you can discover more and more about the best version of yourself. Make your prayer time a sacred item on your schedule. Make it nonnegotiable. Strong daily routines are life-giving, and prayer is the first of them.—Matthew Kelly1
Prayer is simply talking to God—and the most important thing I can say about this is that God wants you to talk to Him! He loves us and He has promised to hear us when we pray. How can you learn to pray? First, understand why prayer is possible.
Prayer is possible because Jesus Christ has removed the barrier between us and God—a barrier caused by our sins. You see, sin separates us from God, and because of that we have no right to come before Him. But by His death on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and removed the barrier. God then gives us the privilege of coming into His presence when we commit our lives to Christ.
The Bible says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”2 If you have never done so, ask Christ to come into your life today.
Then understand that God now welcomes you into His presence and promises to hear you—and He cannot lie. The Bible says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”3 Trust His promises and learn to bring every concern to Him in prayer. …
God wants you to come to know Him more and more each day. Jesus’ disciples repeatedly asked for His help, and so should we. On one occasion they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”4
Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”5 The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.”6
God even hears our prayers when we can’t put them into words—times, for example, when our hearts are too burdened or confused even to speak. The Bible says, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”7
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the privilege of prayer—a privilege that is possible because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank God for the privilege of prayer and learn daily to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”8—Billy Graham9
Prayer is our access to God. The Bible says that Jesus taught His disciples to pray; He taught them how to have access to the Father. The example of how He taught them to pray applies to us today. Each of us has that direct access to God. Each one of us is able to talk directly to God and ask Him anything we need to know in our lives. And what I find absolutely fantastic is that God gives answers. Of course, the answers I have received weren’t always the ones I wanted, and things didn’t always turn out the way I hoped for or thought they would happen. But the cool thing is that He answers me, and He will answer you too when you ask.
Just be sure to stay open to His answers, just like Jesus prayed “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” When you have a problem or difficulty in life, take it to Jesus. Take time to pray, to tell God what’s on your heart. There may be others that you want to pray for, too. And I have found that He works the same way with those prayers. Explain their need and ask for His help in the situation, and then trust.—Dan Ross
How do you talk to God? How should we talk to God?
I often hear Christians who have picked up a really bad habit of saying “Father God” at least once every five words. I am not making this up. You have probably heard something like it yourself.
Such prayers sound like this:
Father God, I thank you, Father God, for being here, Father God, and for allowing us, Father God, to study Scripture today, Father God. And Father God, may you bless our minds, Father God, with your Spirit, Father God, so that, Father God, we may become more Christlike, Father God, and in your name, Father God, bring others to you, Father God.
And on and on it goes. … Such a way of praying certainly develops a good rhythm, but is that really what we are going for in our prayers? Rhythm? No. I think that when we pray, our goal should be communication with God.
So how can you do that?
When people say “Father God” over and over in their prayers, I imagine God does not mind as much as I do … but please, when you pray, learn to talk to God like you talk to anyone else. You do not need fancy words, fancy language, or lots of repetition.
And God definitely doesn’t need to be reminded of who we are talking to. …
Let’s start talking to God the way we talk to anyone else. God does not need to be reminded that we are talking to Him.
In fact, you don’t even need to start your prayers with the word “Dear” and end them with the word “Amen.” Do you do this when talking to anyone else? Nope. So just talk to God like you talk to any other friend who is standing right next to you. Because that is exactly where God is.
Here is “The Lord’s Prayer” [for today] which follows this way of thinking about God and about prayer:
Hey, Dad, I know that you want people to know who you are, and so help me learn to follow your ways here on earth just as they are followed in heaven. Help me do this by trusting you for my needs today and avoiding the way the world wants me to live. Hopefully as you teach me to live this way, others will come to know you through me. I’m serious about this, okay?
Now really, that prayer is quite generic. It doesn’t say much. But it’s a template for how our conversations with God can go. You don’t need to memorize this prayer or recite it. After all, do you memorize a conversation you want to have with your wife and recite it to her every night at dinner? I hope not. …
The point is this … God is a real person who wants to have real conversations with you. So talk to Him that way.—Jeremy Myers10
Published on Anchor August 2020. Read by John Laurence. Music by Michael Dooley.
1 Matthew Kelly, Rediscover the Saints (Blue Sparrow, 2019).
2 Hebrews 4:16.
3 1 John 5:14.
4 Luke 11:1.
5 Hebrews 4:12.
6 Proverbs 15:26.
7 Romans 8:26.
8 1 Peter 5:7.