This is very sad because prayer is no different than conversation. Think about a conversation between a child and his or her parent. Though the child can’t possibly understand everything the parent understands and knows, the child is not intimidated to go to their parent and talk to them. They ask of them, they seek comfort from them, they understand that their parent is the source of everything in their young life.
It’s the same way with us and our Heavenly Father. He created us to be in relationship with Him, much like when a parent has a child, there is a hope that they will share a close relationship as the child grows. So the good news is, you don’t have to wait to “learn” to pray. You can begin right now, right where you are. God is definitely waiting to hear from you, in the same way a loving parent longs to hear the voice of a child who has been away from home for a while. He will be thrilled to hear your words, “Hello Dad.”
To begin your conversation, talk to God the way you would talk to a loving parent. Begin by putting your mind in the frame around all the good things in your life. Where do you think they came from? Allow this to set your heart and mind in a grateful tone which helps you “hear” Him respond to you. God is love as the bible tells us in 1 John 4:16. This means He’s a good dad.
Some people can’t see God this way. They don’t believe He’s given them anything good in their life; instead only seeing Him as harsh, distant and uncaring, even frightening. These images are misconceptions and distortions of a deeper truth. You may have difficulty seeing God as loving if your earthly father wasn’t so good to you. That’s normal and not a surprise to God. He understands where you’ve come from and promises to meet you where you are. (Maybe take a moment right now to read Hebrews 4:15.)
It can be hard to believe that you have a loving and kind Heavenly Father, especially if you come from an abusive background. But, hang in there. Give God a chance to teach you about His awesome loving and compassionate nature. It’s not like anything you’ve ever known and it will change you if you will allow yourself time to soak it in.
First, find a quiet place. This can be your bedroom, an office bathroom or even your car. Just go someplace quiet where you can be alone with God. Once you find a place, clear your mind. Ask God to help you. Turn off your phone, or at least put it on silent and face down. It also helps to have your bible there and a pen and paper handy to jot down any random thoughts that come your way, distracting you from praying (don’t be surprised if distractions happen a lot a first.) By writing it down, you can dismiss the distraction for now and continue in prayer. It’s also great to right down any encouraging thoughts that come your way while you’re praying.
Begin by telling God what’s in your heart. Just talk normal, no need to sound religious or use special word. Just be yourself. Don’t try to cover up. Be honest with Him. He knows what’s there already, but He wants to talk to you about it. Keep reminding yourself that He loves you. Honesty is very important when you pray.
Tell Him about your heart’s thankfulness for all the good things in your life (He gave them to you, you know.) Tell Him about the disappointments also. If you feel angry or hurt, He can handle that too. Just get it all out. Don’t hold anything back from Him. Just speak your heart. Be sure you ask Him to teach you more about Him and to change your heart in the areas that need changing. Ask Him to give you more understanding about His Character and about Jesus.
The Bible tells us in 1 John 5:14 that “this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”(NIV) What does “according to His will” mean? Well, in 2 Peter 3:9 it says, “He is patient with us and it’s not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” What’s His will? What is it He wants? He doesn’t want you feeling lost and hurting. He WANTS to be in relationship with you.
Once you have prayed and opened yourself up to this idea that He wants a relationship with you, get quiet and listen inside your heart. Linger there in quiet prayer for a little while. Perhaps you may find some comforting thoughts coming your way. If not, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s as if your prayers hit the ceiling and bounced right back. But I assure you, that’s not the case. Heaven’s ear is listening. Open your Bible. Ask God to help you understand what you read there. Be patient and most of all, have a little faith.
So why not start right now? Your Heavenly Dad loves you and misses you. He is waiting to hear from you.