National Day of Prayer

How to pray and be still


Written by Fiona Monaghan

“Prayer: Is the act of seeing reality from God’s point of view” – Philip Yancey

Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer and I wanted to share my experience at a Prayer Workshop led by Pastor Tim earlier this year.

Beginning the day with a simple exercise, we pick a verse that is important to us or stood out to us and meditated on it. After soaking in God’s word in, surrounded by peace, we came back together and shared it with the group.

What was amazing to see was the variety of verses that all had a common thread and that was ‘be still.’ Pastor Tim pointed out that we all have a way of giving 'hugs' our own personal touch. It might be a phrase we use, a type of hug, rubbing the back, kissing the cheek. Cultures have different ways of expressing hugs and God has a way to give each of us a ‘hug’ and it’s with the phrase “Be Still”. It will come through in a verse or sometimes a thought flitting through your mind.

As you get ready to pray be still and fully immerse yourself in God's presence.

PrayerNow that you have prepared your heart and mind for prayer beginning with thanksgiving. Actively look for those things in your life you are thankful. Then go deeper and examine the why and wherefores of that thankfulness. If you are thankful for your family, what about your family are you thankful for? Why are you thankful for that? Take the time to really examine and you will find more attributes coming to the surface. Be intentional at the beginning and ending of your day to examine the reasons to be thankful for that day.

Adoration and confession: a time to examine your motives and inward thoughts. Bring them to the forefront for confession in relation to who God is. For example, if fear is present look to where God is addressed as our Fortress in times of trouble. If you are battling something, then to look to where He is addressed as our Shield and Buckler protecting us in times of battle. Needing comfort, what about The Shepherd who guards and takes care of his sheep? Focus on the all names of God and understanding His nature and His glory.

Petition is when we are asking for specific things. We name and present our requests to God. This would be as it relates to us individually. For direction in life, decisions needing to be made, wisdom for a specific item. It is good and right for us to pray for this kind of thing.

God is our Father and He wants to give to His children. We are told that we have not because we don’t ask. It is a time also to be aware that God is all knowing and what we are asking for He will answer from that place of knowing all. He always answers prayer in some way. It may not be in the way we want or thought, but He will answer.

“If our all prayers were answered right now, how would the world change?” Pastor Tim

Intercession is when we are praying for others. I really liked Pastor Tim’s question he asked us, “If our all prayers were answered right now, how would the world change?” Pray for the seemingly impossible. Pray internationally. Pray for your neighbors. Pray for the government. Pray for all the conflicts you hear about in the news.

We can be given a desire to pray and maybe even the wisdom and understanding of what to pray for, but only God can work in a person’s life to make change. We should never take advantage of knowledge about another person except to pray for them, it’s a solemn responsibility.

We are encouraged in two way prayer to pause and listen for God’s response; to have a two way communication and to expect direction. We have been given access to Him and He wants to have that with us.

God uses many avenues to accomplish this. Maybe a thought in your mind, a scripture that you read that just illuminates what you are praying about or something someone says. For myself, I have found that journaling my prayer is an excellent way to stay focused and also receive direction. For example, when writing my frustration and praying for guidance on a particular thing and as I put words to my feelings I felt myself calming and the words became more productive and by the end of twenty minutes of writing I had my answer on what to do next. I truly believe God worked in that scenario for that end.

In the book Crossroads by William Paul Young references prayer by writing “Prayer is a conversation inside a relationship.” That is it in a nutshell. When we care about someone, we share our thoughts, fears and ambitions with them. This communication called prayer is that very thing with our Heavenly Father. Jesus took much time to communicate with His Father when he lived on this earth and we have been given that very right and responsibility to aid us in our lives on this earth.