How do I talk with my Father in heaven?
It is a wonderful privilege that we can talk with the Lord of all heaven and earth at any time of the day or night. And we can discuss any subject with Him. We don’t need to use formal written prayers — although if these are more comfortable for us, that’s all right.
One day Jesus’ disciples asked Him a key question: “Can You teach us how to pray?” They had observed how much time Jesus spent quietly talking with His heavenly Father. The prayer He suggested is a model for us:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be (holy is) Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
This prayer is so helpful because it reverently establishes our focus on our heavenly Father, petitions His intervention in earthly matters, brings before Him our needs for provision, forgiveness and protection, and ends by glorifying Him and His great power.
Just as the psalms of David are great for worship, they are also helpful examples of how we can talk with our heavenly Father. He loves for us to simply come to Him, just as an earthly father delights in his children sitting on his knee, sharing whatever is on their minds.
Many of the psalms are cries to the Lord for help in times of trouble. Psalms 17, 28, 61, 64, 70 and 86 are all examples of David’s calling out to the Lord to hear and protect him from his enemies. Sometimes it’s clear by the end of the psalm that David knows by faith that the Lord has heard his cry for help.
Here is the key: Talk to Jesus as your best Friend. Begin by thanking and praising Him for His great love for you. Then tell Him your concerns. You can tell Him anything and everything. He already knows so don’t worry about shocking Him.
When you know you have disappointed Him, instead of distancing yourself, come immediately to Him and ask for forgiveness. Then take His hand and go on with Him. In prayer you can experience the joy of His comforting arms around you. In response to your prayers, He will forgive, encourage, strengthen and bring clarity to problems. And He will give you His amazing peace.
One of the hardest lessons is learning to listen. You will probably find it difficult to quiet your distracting thoughts enough to hear God’s voice. A good way to begin hearing Him speak is through daily reading of the scriptures. It is an excellent way to listen — and often the result is unexpected answers to some of your questions.
When you have found others who also believe in Jesus, join with them to pray. Hearing others express their hearts to the Lord is a great catalyst to the growth of your own faith. You will soon find yourself looking forward to those times together.
Most important of all, remember that prayer is continual conversation with the One you are learning to love and trust. Just looking up into the sky and smiling at Him or giving your own hand a squeeze — as if holding the Lord’s hand — can bring you right back into the closeness you need with Him at that moment.
Key Scripture: (Philippians 4:6)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer … with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God