By Waylon Bailey
Prayer is central to our faith. In fact, prayer seems to be a common practice of all peoples.
Prayer is important because it’s essential to getting in touch with God. Even many atheists admit to praying in difficult times.
If prayer is so necessary and important, are there ways we harm our times of prayer? Are there ways we should not pray?
Let me give you three ways you should consider changing about how you pray.
First, don’t pray negatively.
In itself, prayer is a positive practice. It is a way of getting in touch with God and letting Him have control over our lives. This is, of course, a positive event.
How do we make it negative? We do so by emphasizing what we don’t want to do rather than what we want to do. For example, let’s suppose you need to be more patient.
You might pray, “Lord, help me not to be impatient and frustrated today.” That’s a negative prayer.
A positive prayer might be like this, “Lord, help me today as I struggle with the difficulties of life. Help me to show the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Let me live in patience, gentleness, kindness, and self-control.”
A positive prayer emphasizes what we want to do rather than what we don’t want to do.
Second, don’t pray negatively toward other people.
We all have people we believe should change and live differently then they are living. It’s easy to get caught up in negative prayer, almost expressing anger toward the other person. Those negative prayers will not help change us or our issues.
Instead of praying negatively or angrily concerning others, ask God to change you and your attitude. Prayer is not to change God’s mind but to change our mind. Let God change you and you will experience the wonderful power of prayer.
Finally, don’t pray without meaning it. Don’t go through the motions, and don’t let your prayer be a time of drudgery. Pray earnestly. Pray passionately and with purpose. Pray to meet God and to draw close to Him.
We all have problems, many of those are in our prayer lives. Ask God to help you. He will. You can count on Him.
If you have problems focusing in prayer or even knowing what to say, tell God. He will help you learn Him and His ways.
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Waylon Bailey is pastor of First Baptist Church Covington and a past president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Subscribe to Dr. Bailey’s daily devotional by clicking here.