By Waylon Bailey
When we pray, we please God.
God’s Word tells us to pray in all times and in all things. Paul said that prayer is the antidote for anxiety. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
What matters in prayer?
First, it’s not your eloquence in prayer and certainly not the length of your prayers. Prayers are often awkward or feeble. At least that is the way I view many of my prayers. Jesus taught us to pray in profound ways, but the amazing part of the prayer is the sincerity and heart’s desire. He taught us to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The words of devotion and the attitude of submission matter in prayer.
Second, what matters most is the One to whom we pray. It is not prayer that changes things (although I understand the meaning and sentiment behind those words); it is the God to whom we pray that makes all the difference.
Remember, God tells us to pray fervently, believing, and in faith, but those are not transactional words. It is not legalism. It simply means that God wants us to seek Him and let Him bring peace and hope to our lives.
Third, being in God’s presence matters in prayer. God inhabits the praises of His people, and He hears when we pray. He has promised to be with us and never forsake us. When brothers and sisters join to pray, He has assured us that He will be present.
If you find yourself not knowing how or what to pray, I would encourage you to simply tell God that you would like to spend time with Him. Ask Him to make Himself known and enjoy the time with God.
People in what I call a “veteran marriage” often tell me that they don’t even have to talk to each other, they just enjoy being present with one another. I would say that you can have that kind of relationship with God as you pray and seek Him.
May God bless you with His presence.
Waylon Bailey is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington and president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board. This editorial first appeared on Bailey’s daily blog.