One day I was praying a prayer something like this: “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I tried to do this, and the other person just didn’t care. I just can’t handle this any more.”
Those are not the exact words, nor do I remember what I was actually praying; but my tone of complaining was very similar. The Lord started teaching me how to pray.
First, He pointed out that that was not praying; it was complaining. They are not the same thing. He reminded me about His attitude towards complaining as seen in His dealings with the children of Israel in the wilderness. One time He sent plagues; another time He sent serpents. In other words, He didn’t like what they were doing, and He didn’t like it when I did it.
Next, He reminded me that the only person I could change in the situation was myself and that I needed to check myself first. So I started praying about myself first. “What have I done wrong in this situation? What do I need to change about myself?”
I discovered a huge problem. I didn’t like admitting that I had done wrong. Although I thought I knew myself pretty well, God knew me better. He also understood what was sin, and I needed to listen to Him. I realized that if this relationship problem was going to get straightened out, I needed to take care of the person I was responsible for – myself. I learned that God was always right, and I was often wrong. It was best to admit it and ask for forgiveness.
An amazing thing would often happen. The problem would go away! Now that I had taken care of my sin, I was able to understand the situation better and see that there was really no problem.
Sometimes there was still a problem. I learned to tell the Lord the problem as I saw it. I would ask Him if I was supposed to go to the person or did He have someone else to do the talking. If I was to go, when was I to go, how was I to approach the person, and what was I to say.
How does the Lord “tell” me these things? That is another thing I learned about prayer – the work of the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in me. One reason for His living in Christians is to guide them to think godly. He will remind us of Scripture. He will put solutions in our minds.
How to know if it really is the Holy Spirit behind these thoughts? If the thoughts are in line with the Bible, you can be pretty sure that it is from the Holy Spirit. You won’t know if it matches the Bible unless you read the Bible and read it to learn about God. If you still feel emotionally chargde, then you probably don’t have the Holy Spirit’s answer. His answer brings peace.
It looks like I wrote about more than just a method of praying. The reason is that there is more to prayer than just a bunch of words that start with “Dear Heavenly Father” and end with “Amen.” The focus is God, who is much bigger than a lot of words.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
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 surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.