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How to Pray by Talking with the Lord

Sunrise

I’ve recently been enjoying a simple example of prayer from the Gospels. It comes from Luke chapter 11 verse 1.

In this portion Jesus was in a certain place praying. When he finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught His disciples.” It was a very genuine request from a disciple who had spent much time in Jesus’ presence.

So why does this verse stand out?

It stands out because, on the one hand, it was a simple question asked by one of Jesus’ disciples, but on the other hand, it’s an example of how we can pray today.

Often, we equate praying with reciting something we’ve been taught to recite or repeating something we’ve heard others pray. Maybe we do it with a certain kind of intonation we’re used to hearing from those around us. Whatever the case, there’s likely some formal, repetitive aspect to the way we pray.

But the disciples weren’t like this. They asked the Lord whatever was on their mind. They were in His presence, and they had daily conversations with Him.

Did you know that you can pray this way?

Instead of reciting something you’ve learned or trying to repeat a prayer you’ve heard, you can simply talk to the Lord Jesus. You can converse with Him like this: “Lord, I don’t understand this portion of the Bible. What does this verse mean?” Or, “Lord, I’m anxious about this test. I really need your help right now.” Or, “Lord, I don’t know how to be a Christian. Show me what it means to live a normal Christian life.”

Whatever we’re going through, we can talk to Jesus. We can tell Him about our day. We can explain our concern for a friend and ask Him to help him or her. We can tell the Lord how much we love Him and thank Him for dying for us.

All of these are things we can pray to the Lord, but they don’t have to be done in a religious, habitual way. We can talk to the Lord in the same way that the disciples talked with Him. We can ask Him questions and tell Him our concerns.

The disciples had the physical presence of the Lord; today, we have the invisible presence of the Lord Jesus inside of us. He’s a real person, and He’s living in us today. Instead of waiting to ask Him a question when we meet Him or feeling like He’s far away, we can talk to Him as if He’s right there beside us.

And really, this is what it means to pray. To pray is simply to contact God with our spirit. When we contact Jesus by talking to Him, we contact God who is Spirit with our human spirit. In this way, prayer is a divine transmission between God and man, not a formal, religious act.

So don’t feel like you need to wait, and don’t think there’s no one around to listen. Go ahead and talk to Jesus. He already knows everything about you, so you can be real and genuine with Him. You don’t have to appear like you have it together because He already knows your real condition. Just talk to Him and tell Him exactly what you’re going through and what’s on your mind.

Have you ever prayed in this way, or have you mostly prayed in a more formal way? Please leave a comment to share your experience and join in the discussion. May the Lord continue to teach all of us how to pray.

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn

About Joe Putnam

Hi, my name is Joe Putnam. I live in Lubbock, TX, and contribute posts here on Holding to Truth from time to time. Please leave a comment to let us know what you enjoyed from this post. Thanks!

11 Replies

  1. Tom Smith

    I really enjoyed this post because it brings prayer to the most fundamental level–our communication with God. Regardless of what our condition is–happy, sad, strong or weak, etc.–we simply need to tell the Lord what is in our heart in a genuine way. This is part of spiritual breathing–exhaling. As we breathe out what is in us, we spontaneously breathe in what is of Him. I also like this hymn with the simple reminder to “Go to Jesus, tell Him all”: http://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn.php/nt/788.

    Thanks for an encouraging post, with a helpful reminder.

  2. Joana Morales

    What a good reminder to simply talk with the Lord wherever, whenever, & however we feel. Lord, remind us to always stay in Your presence.

  3. Thanks for this reminder. I love the fact that we can come stuttering — quiet, loud or not even speaking a word — just from our hearts — He hears and He knows. I love the fact that He is just that kind of God.

    Thanks for the post. Awesome!

  4. Thank you for the reminder, brother. We don’t need to formulate long prayers and we don’t need to really think hard how we can speak to God – we can just be genuine and real to Him and talk to Him as we would talk to a friend!

    When we talk to the Lord about everything, when we open up to Him and converse with Him about all the things, people, circumstances, and issues in our life, we are praying unceasingly. And this is the way to live Christ! “Pray unceasingly” is possible today if we learn to open to Him, talk to Him, and tell him everything!

    1. Yes, Stefan, I’ve been really impressed with that lately. Often we view prayer as a formal event where we need to pray in a certain way, but actually, we can talk to the Lord at any time and in that way we’re praying to Him. I really love when the disciples ask the Lord to teach them how to pray. It was such a simple, genuine, and real question. We can talk to the Lord in the same way, and these informal conversations are prayers in which we contact God and fellowship with Him.

      Thank you for your comment!

  5. LeiraRuthF.

    Can we also pray this way during prayer meetings?

  6. Linda Price

    Thank you for this word on prayer. I have been having a lack of enjoyment when reading my morning reading. Today, I read to the Lord in a conversational way and found it very enlightening and comforting. He IS always with us!

  7. Yes, I believe we can pray this way, even in a prayer meeting. Our prayers are a conversation with the Lord, and we don’t want to pray repetitive, religious prayers. We want to pray fresh prayers based on the burden we receive from the Lord.

  8. Annie M Punzalan

    Praise the Lord for this helpful article… sometimes, we need to be very simple in contacting the Lord as if we do not have any inhibitions because He is not only our Lord but, our faithful friend where we can really tell everything to Him. Our prayer must come from our innermost being and we also need to wait on the Lord’s speaking to us…. it’s a two-way traffic… Amen.

    1. Hi Annie, It is very helpful to remember that the Lord is our friend and companion. Noah walked with God, and Abraham and Moses were his companions. We also can have this kind of relationship with God by talking to Him about the big and small things in our life.

  9. I see these past posts are from 2003. I’ve been on a 10 year search for words that I found on your post in which you talk about visiting with Jesus vs praying to Jesus. I’ve been taught to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name however as I am 85 I want to actually feel I can talk to Jesus before I meet Him face to face. So I now say the Lord’s Prayer in Jesus’ name but also talk to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a personal way. Thank you.

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