How well do you pray? Now there’s a question that’ll make a lot of church people squirm. It’s likely stating the obvious to say that prayer is important, but for all the books and sermons about prayer I would suggest most of us don’t pray very well.
Now before you get too down on yourself this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Romans 8:26 says flat out that we’re weak and don’t know how to pray. So the first place to start strengthening your praying is to admit your weakness and that you need help. That help comes from the Holy Spirit as Romans goes on to say.
But how does a person tap into that help? Two other places, Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20, instruct us to “pray in the Spirit.” How does a person pray in the Spirit? Perhaps this will help.
Over the years and I’ve had the privilege of helping to work or move cattle at a variety of outfits from grassland ranches to parkland grazing co-ops to mixed farms. And every place has its own style and technique for handling the cows. Some places are slow and laid back using very gentle pressure, while other places are intense and rammy. Some places the cows are talked to in low quiet tones and then at others there’s as much yelling at each other as there is at the herd.
I have my personal preference as to what style is most effective but I discovered that if a guy is going to be of any help he’s got to watch how the boss handles things and adapt to fit in. You have to pay attention and read how his system works and what the cattle are used to. Otherwise you end up more in the way and the animals get confused and everybody gets frustrated. Odds are you won’t be invited back.
Praying in the Spirit is simply paying attention to and responding to the moves and guidance of the Spirit and not putting any confidence in my own nature. Easier said than done? Well maybe, but try this: Pray scripture. The Psalms are an easy place to start, because many of them are prayers, but much of scripture can be prayed. For example:
Hebrews 12:1-3, Father help me throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and instead run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Prompt me to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Keep forefront in my mind him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that I won’t grow weary and lose heart.