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How to Become Better at Prayer

Understand the purpose of Prayer

The purpose of prayer is to connect with God

Prayer is more about connection than conversation

Be yourself when you pray

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. MATTHEW 6:5 NIV

Invite the Holy Spirit to help me pray

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. ROMANS 8:26 NLT

Every Christian needs to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. JUDE 1:20 NIV

Some Christians will pray in tongues through the gifting of the Holy Spirit

For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. 1 CORINTHIANS 14:14 NLT

Learn to listen for God’s voice when I pray

On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, REVELATION 1:10 NIV

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts … HEBREWS 3:7-8 NIV

The Holy Spirit can speak to me through…

Remind yourself of who you are as you pray

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. … GALATIANS 4:4-7 NLT

My Notes

Personal Reflection Guide

Locate a quiet place that is suitable for prayer and reflection. Turn your attention to your thoughts and feelings and wait until they become relatively still. You may decide to take a walk to help you become still inside. Slow, deep breaths can help as well. When you are ready, invite the Holy Spirit into this time to guide and to help you pray. Think about your prayer experience. Why do you pray? What do you think and feel about prayer being more a connection to God than a conversation with Him? As you reflect on the sermon, what do you sense God is impressing upon you to change regarding your prayer life? How does knowing that you are God’s dearly loved child encourage you to pray? Close your time by pouring out your heart to your loving heavenly Father regarding anything that is bothering you, relying on the Holy Spirit to help you do this (Psalm 62:8). Close by thanking God for this time together. Use the space below to write down any reflections, sharing them with your group if you feel comfortable.

Discussion Questions

Choose a couple of the following questions from each section that best fit your group. Or, have everyone read the questions, choosing which one(s) from each section that they feel led to respond to.

  1. START HERE: If you could go back in time and talk to anyone (besides Jesus), who would you talk to, and what would you want to talk about?
  2. START HERE: Who in your life do you feel strongly connected with? What has helped lead to that strong connection?
  3. KEEP GOING: When we view prayer as simply connecting with God, how does that encourage your practice of prayer?
  4. KEEP GOING: Read Matthew 6:5-8 (NLT). Have you ever felt inclined to act a certain way when you pray? What would it sound like for you to pray as yourself?
  5. KEEP GOING: Read Romans 8:26 (NLT). The Holy Spirit empowers our prayers. How does that affect your belief about the effectiveness of your own prayers?
  6. KEEP GOING: (a) What are your thoughts about hearing from God–when have you heard from Him recently, and what did He say? (b) How do you discern the difference between God’s voice and the voice of others?
  7. LIVE IT OUT: Jesus wants to connect with the real you, and this requires that we come to him with honesty and vulnerability. What is something that you want to talk with Jesus about? Spend some time right now in prayer, either individually or as a group. If you don’t know where to start, ask the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf.
  8. LIVE IT OUT: This week, consider prayer as a means of “returning home” to God. As you pray, imagine simply being in the welcoming presence of God’s fatherly love. Don’t put pressure on the words, but rather, focus on God’s presence. Share with the group next week how this practice affected your experience of prayer.