By: Joy Carignan
Developing a good prayer life is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Prayer is simply talking to God. It doesn't need to be more complicated.
As a child, I remember thinking prayer was so REVERANT and just a tiny bit scary. In prayer groups, I would be intimidated by other's passion and ferver. It didn't make a lot of sense to me. So, I decided when I wanted to talk to God, I would lay on my bed and simply talk. Nothing fancy; just a child talking like I would talk to anybody. I would tell Him about my day, about all the things I wanted, and all the things I was afraid of. I would even ask God questions about the shadows on the wall or the clouds in the sky. It was simple; it was pure.
Matthew 18:4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The simplicity of my seven-year-old self talking to God is the foundation of my prayer life. It hasn't changed much since then. I still come before the Lord and talk about my day. As I have grown, I have learned, like any child, how to have a conversation. I now LISTEN a lot more in my prayer time than I did as a child. There is an exchange in this discussion now. It is no longer the incessant prattling of a child, my prayers have developed into a genuine conversation.
John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
There may be times in your life when a great stand of faith is required and serious fasting and prayer is necessary. Turn to scripture and the Beloved community to help you stand firm and pray during those times. However, every day a culture of prayer, a consistent line of communication between you and God, is needed to sustain your whole life.
In my quiet time, a short time back I was feeling pressure. Pressure to be better, somehow more, to work harder, and be more perfect! I was starting to drive myself into works and religiosity in my prayers. But, God stopped me and said, "work on intimacy, not perfection!" Take this line and post it on your wall, make it the screen saver on your phone, write it in your Bible, whatever you need it to get it in your soul. The whole point of PRAYER is INTIMACY. That is the end goal. It's the win of your Christian walk: To have an INTIMATE relationship with GOD!
Any time you read your Bible, pray, or worship, strive after intimacy with God. Make that the goal, the end mark, the desire of your heart! In pursuit of this goal, the world will fall away, and the purpose of prayer will be unveiled. The beautiful conversation with your creator will become simple. As simple as a child talking to a loving Father.
Joy Carignan is the World Missions Director at New Life Family Church in Euless, TX. As a recent graduate of Oral Roberts University, Joy led prayer in the ORU prayer room for several years and now is prayer leader on Tuesday Night Prayer at New Life.