How Do I Pray Best? (Six Questions for Every Christian to Ask, #2)

How do I pray best?

Prayer occupies a central place in our lives as followers of Jesus. Prayer assumes that God is not distant and impenetrable, but that we can approach God, and that God listens and is somehow reachable in our prayer. Our liturgical tradition describes just one of many ways to express prayer to God.

If we can communicate with God, we can also listen to God. People have developed various ways of prayerfully listening to God through the Bible, through silence, by meditating with words or images or music, and in community. In all of these, we presume that prayer helps us to relate closely to God, and that God is in fact relatable. This is why we have chosen “How do I pray best?” as the second in our series of six questions every Christian needs to ask.

Called to Worship God

Two thousand years of followers of Jesus–and millennia of people walking with God before then–have practiced ways to call themselves and each other to the worship of God. We do not pray alone. We can rely on their work and wisdom as we both grow in prayer and deal with all those things that can make us forget God: boredom, wealth and ease, distractions, hardships, fears, attractive things, lies, and the many wanderings of our own hearts.

Deuteronomy 8 records Moses teaching God’s people as they are preparing to enter the Promised Land, reminding them about what is most important. Over and over, he says, Remember the Lord your God. Do not forget God. Remember how God has led you. If our relationship with God defines who we are, prayer helps us remember. How do you personally remember God and walk with God each day? How do you turn toward God who calls you into relationship? What are the ways you hear yourself called back? How do you hold the anchor of your life?

How Do You Pray?

We are complicated beings, and so people pray in different ways. And people pray differently in different seasons of their lives. Is serving others your prayer? Do you meet God walking in the woods? Gazing at the sacred image of an icon? Memorizing scripture? Wrestling through questions of faith? Sitting in the sanctuary? Pouring your heart out with a small group? Gathering with your church family? Moving your body? Do you give your prayer voice in music or art? Do you meet God in silence? In the suffering? What are the touchpoints of your life?

Perhaps start by asking if you have gifts and interests that you can turn toward your relationship with God. Are there ways of prayer toward which God seems to be nudging you at this time? Then remember that God is already here, and sometimes we just need ways to be reminded.

The only way each of us can truly discover how we love to meet God is by taking the journey of prayer, learning from others, growing in love. Because that’s the heart of it. Every model and method of prayer has the same aim: to give ear and expression to our relationship with God, centering our lives on Christ who seeks us.

This is based on a talk from our 2021 Lenten learning series, Re-boot Your Spiritual Life. You can watch the full version here:

The Hope Canteen Podcast, Episode 42: For God so Loved the World

Podcast #42: For God So Loved the World
Episode 42: John 3:14-21

In today’s podcast we are looking at a passage from the Gospel of John that contains perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.

The passage flows out of a conversation between Jesus and a religious leader named Nicodemus. Our topic for the podcast today comes from this longer passage, John 3:14-21. It hangs on an important question: how to we know heavenly things? And more specifically, how do we attain to eternal life? The answer of the passage is through Jesus.

To help us understand it, the speaker points us back to a much earlier episode in Israelite history. It is a story where, centuries earlier, people were being bitten by poisonous snakes and getting sick. Moses was instructed to put an image of a snake on a pole. Then, if the Israelites looked at it, they would be healed. By referring back to this story, the Gospel of John is telling us that if we look to Jesus and believe in him, we too will be spiritually healed and receive eternal life.

Join us around the virtual table as we talk about what “God so loved the world” has to say about condemnation and love, staying close to God, and what it really means to believe.

The Hope Canteen Podcast, Episode 25: Moses and the Glory of God

Moses and the Glory of God
Episode 25: Moses and the Glory of God

This week, we pick up the story of Moses in Exodus 33:12-23. After the people have turned from God to worship a golden calf, Moses and God talk about how to move forward, and how intimacy with God will look as they settle in the Promised Land.

Join us around the virtual table as we reflect on the Glory of God and how it informs our relationship with God. Please join the conversation! Add your insights in the comments below.