“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
–1 Timothy 2:1-2
There are plenty of people on Earth that we can ask for help when we need it. For you these people may include friends, teachers, counselors, and/or members of your church. Of course parents and other family members are near the top of many people’s lists.
God is meant to be our heavenly Father, and He’s always ready to hear and answer our questions. But many people aren’t too sure how to talk to God, or what should be included in a prayer. When I was in high school, my Sunday school teacher helped us learn a very simple acronym which includes the 4 basic parts of a prayer. Not surprisingly, the word we’ll be using is PRAY.
The P stands for Praise. It’s best to start your prayer by thanking God for everything He’s done for you. When you think about it, you’ll realize that God has blessed you with many things; often there are too many to count. Start with the gifts of family, friends, your home, or just the gift of life in general. You’ll probably be surprised how many blessings you’ll come up with. (Most people only thank God for a few things in each prayer. Mentioning absolutely everything would probably take all day! Don’t worry–God understands and he’s not offended at all.)
The R in PRAY stands for Repent. This means that you ask God to forgive the sins you have committed against Him. When God forgives your sins, He erases the proverbial recording of everything you’ve done that goes against His Word. This could also be compared to polishing a dirt-covered coin, so that it becomes shiny and beautiful again. Forgiveness of sins is very important, because it keeps us holy and frees us from any wrong in God’s eyes.
Thirdly, the A stands for Ask. This is when we can ask any questions we have, or make requests to God. Our Father isn’t a magician, and he won’t give us every little thing we want, but he will certainly answer “yes” or “no” (or sometimes “maybe later”) to anything we ask.
There’s a very good reason God doesn’t give us everything we ask for. He has a divine plan for each of us, and we are meant to submit to that plan. So, the Y in PRAY prompts us to YIELD to God’s will for us. This submission may sometimes be frustrating or disappointing, but God makes all things work together for our good if we love Him and we are called to do His will on Earth.
The PRAY acronym is very effective and easy to remember, so I hope you will begin using this quick guide to prayer. I believe prayer can and will change your life for the better!