I’m sure that as a Christian woman you can agree with me that prayer is essential for a purpose-filled life. However, prayer might be different for each of us. While the Bible does give us examples of ways to pray (Matthew 6:9-13), sometimes you can get so caught up in having mundane, simple, routine prayers that your time with God isn’t as effective as it could be. Praying ineffective prayers might mean that you are missing out on aspects of what God desires to give you in relationship with Him. After I realized that I might be missing out on a more intimate, fruitful prayer life, I made this one switch, and it radically improved my prayer life.
First, What is Prayer?
When you think of prayer, you might think of talking to God and making your requests know to Him. I think most Christians consider prayer with God to be a time when they are able to talk with God. While that’s definitely true, I believe our minds and sinful/selfish nature are conditioned to talk to God instead of talking WITH HIM. Instead of spending all of your time making requests to God, spend more time hearing what He has to say. Prayer is more than just talking TO God, it’s communication with Him.
How to Engage God in Conversation…
If I’m honest, for a while, learning to hear what God had to say during prayer was a bit difficult for me to do and get adjusted to. I’m a talker, so I didn’t understand the value of listening to God more than I talked to Him.
At first, I would just sit in silence and think so hard about what God was trying to say that I wasn’t sure if I was really getting it right. But, then, God revealed something so simple to me! He said: “You can ask me questions!”. That was profound to me. So, from there, I began a journey of engaging God in conversation by asking Him questions.
As I asked God questions, it positioned me to hear more from Him about His thoughts, desires, and plans for my life. It took the focus off of my requests and instead made room for me to learn more from the all-knowing God. It was a radical change for me. The level of intimacy with God began to grow as I explored His nature through questions.
Don’t Just Stop at Asking…
Asking God questions forces us to silence ourselves and wait for His responses. It requires that you focus on hearing from God instead of purely bringing petitions to God.
One of the major things that I believe most Christians miss out on in prayer time is with listening. We spend so much time talking to God (sometimes even talking at Him), that we don’t spend enough time hearing what He has to say. I would challenge you to spend at least 50% of your time with God, if not more, by actually quieting yourself and focusing on Him.
Learning to ask God all the right questions can be just what you need to take your life to the next level.
The More You Dig, the More Intimate You’ll Get
I can truly say I’ve been guilty of rushing into the presence of God with personal requests, complaints, frustrations (etc.) with my life, family, friends, current situation, church, etc. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be vulnerable and communicate your truth and your heart’s desires to God – because the bible does say that we should cast our cares on God because He cares for us (Psalm 55:22). But, that does not mean that your prayer time should be a monologue stuffed with prayer requests and communication in God’s direction without stopping to hear from Him.
The beautiful part of asking questions to God is that often one question leads to another. As He responds to your questions, it makes room for you to ask even more in-depth, detailed questions. This is one of my favorite ways to experience intimacy with God because He literally has all the answers. His wisdom is immeasurable, and His thoughts are perfect. Intimacy with God leads to a much better life lived!
Photo by: Diana Simumpande