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How to Pray
/ Part
January 23, 2022
/ Groups:

Challenge Follow up

Did you create a plan? How is it going? Share your plan (your location, time and routine) with your group and share tips on how to make it work. If you have grace to do so, share your written prayer and what you learned.

Let’s continue our Journey to a Life of Prayer.

Put down the wish-list and wait

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10

Around our house, Christmas gifts are predictable. We share our list with each other and get a list in return. When the presents are opened, I usually receive stuff from my list. It’s a good system, and it makes gift-buying easier – and we all get something we want.

My daughter though, is a maverick. She loves giving gifts and she’s usually done shopping by the end of October! She isn’t buying from a pre-canned list of gifts either. Oh no! She is thinking – I mean really thinking – about who we are and what we might need or like. This year I opened her gift and found a heavy, elevated turn table and implements for cake decorating. I love baking cakes and she had noticed that I struggled bending over the counter and turning the plate. It was something fantastic that I didn’t even know I needed.

As I considered what it means to wait on the Lord I thought of that gift. I’m often so busy pestering him with requests that I forget He knows what I need before I ask (Matthew 6:8). If I could just sit still for a bit, I suspect I would receive something fantastic that I didn’t even know I needed.

So instead of asking for what we want, let’s begin our prayer walk with PAUSING and waiting on the Lord. After all His presence is as fantastic as His gifts.

Our Father…

When Jesus gives His disciples a prayer (the Lord’s Prayer we often call it) to demonstrate how to pray, He starts by facing God. He calls God Father and He calls His name Holy (Hallowed). His approach to God is not from need, but from an understanding of who God is – a Holy Father.  

In fact, the whole prayer is a prayer of dependency on God. Jesus asks His father to bring his kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Our daily bread is provided by our Father. It is God who delivers us from evil. It is His name that is hallowed. The only thing required of us in the Lord’s prayer is to forgive others in order to be forgiven. We are to treat others as God has treated us, with grace and forgiveness. When we approach God with our face toward Him rather than gazing at our own concerns, we are priming our minds and preparing our hearts to hear from God.

It may be that we are influenced by the Hollywood version of God, but we usually think He is going to show up like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a gospel bazooka and blow us away. But God’s voice is most often a whisper. In 1 King 19 God tells Elijah to watch as he is about to pass by. As Elijah watches there is an earthquake and a wind and a fire. These are earth shattering, compelling, scary events, but the Bible records that God was not in any of them! Instead, after all the hullabaloo, God comes to the waiting Elijah in a still small whisper.  (1 King 19:11-13)

The same can be true for us. When we are distracted by the sound and noise of our needs, culture, and even our own whiny inner voice, we can miss God’s quiet whisper calling us to Him. To hear Him we just need to be listening. But to listen with all our heart takes practice.

Slowing and Centering

The problem we have with listening is that our inner voice (our flesh) is so chatty. It serves up a running commentary on everything around us.  If the lady at the drive through smiles at us, it tells us we look good – or we have something in our teeth. If our spouse raises an eyebrow, it tells us something might be wrong. If the news is bad, it tells us things will get worse. Our inner dialogue constantly and relentlessly tells us we must defend ourselves and control everything we possibly can.

But to truly wait on the Lord and listen to His whisper, we must still that inner voice. We must be willing to ignore what it says about us and the world around us. This requires us to let go and trust God. There are many helpful tips to “centering” ourselves in order to listen to God, but at its core it is about trust. We can slow our breathing, focus on a prayer or a song, or contemplate nature to still our minds. These are all good practices that help us find stillness as we wait on the Lord. But none of it will matter if we do not let go and trust God.

Discussion Questions

1. Read the Lord’s prayer together. If you can, have more than one person read it out load. Try some different versions. Notice how much of it depends on God. Rather than talk, take some time to sit quietly. Try silence for a few minutes. Or disburse to different parts of the room if you have space and rest and center. Prepare you mind and heart to hear the voice of the Father.

2. Come back together and share. Did God speak to you? Did you sense obstacles? Are you getting in the way of Him? Remember this takes practice. Encourage each other and share tips or insights into slowing down and listening to the voice of God.


1. Find a short verse from Psalms and write it out on a sheet of paper. Read it several times until it is a part of you. If your mind wanders start over. Let God’s word become a focus. Still your inner voice and wait on the Lord – let Him speak to you. If you are stuck, a good place to start is Psalm 25:4-5 – Show me your ways oh Lord, teach me Your paths…

2. During a time of the day when you usually “decompress” by looking at your phone or watching tv, find a space and sit quietly. See if you can lay aside the cares of the day to “slow and center”. Think about God’s faithfulness and listen for His voice. If you like, write a short journal entry.