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1. Have you ever had someone you thought was a friend, yet they kept blowing you off? Let's face it, we can't have a friendship with someone like that. It's the same with God. We can't have a relationship with Him unless we spend quality time with Him in prayer. Prayer is our two-way communication between God and us. It includes both our talking to God and listening to Him. It is more than just the Creator talking with His creation. It is our Father desiring to be with us. Prayer is a personal action that begins in our hearts, the deepest part of our lives. We spend time with Jesus in prayer because we love Him and want to be with Him (Jude 20, 21).
2. Many people wonder how to pray. There are many ways to pray, but the word 'ACTS' can help us remember what goes on in prayer. 'ACTS' stands for the following:
A - Adoration of God
C - Contrition, or sorrow for our sins
T - Thanksgiving for all that God has given us, both great and small
S - Supplication, calling on Him for his help
Our time in prayer needs to include all of the following elements, done out of love for God our Father.
3. Having a regular prayer life is key to a strong relationship with God. Like any relationship, this requires commitment and time (Luke 6:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). God wants us to continue to increase both the length of time and the quality of time spent with Him. If we are not spending any time with Him, our first step is to commit to a regular time when we will pray (such as when we wake up every day). The next step is to commit to a regular amount of prayer time we will spend every day (a good amount to start with is five minutes).
4. Now comes the question of how we will pray. Good prayer time requires listening to God, not just telling Him our laundry list of needs. Being silent is the first step to listening to God. It also requires an openness to do His will and to change our lives (Psalm 25:9-10). If we do not say to ourselves, Thy will be done, then we will struggle finding meaning in prayer.
5. Personal prayer can take many forms, including journaling/diary writing, reading the Bible, praying the rosary, talking openly to God, praying the Chaplet of divine mercy, etc. (Matthew 6:6; Romans 8:26). We can also spend time with Him by singing Christian songs and listening to Christian music. The bottom line is that we need to be disciplined with our prayer time so we can grow in our love for Jesus and our imitation of Him.