Not only does God love speaking to us, He also loves hearing from us (John 16:3-24 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.
 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy). Prayer doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. It’s really just you talking to God and learning to listen to Him.
The best way to learn to pray is to just pray. There’s no formula to it. We could learn as we practice a lot. Like in any relationship, at first it can be a little hard knowing what to say, but when you get to know someone, there’s a lot more to talk about. The more we talk to God, the more natural it will feel, until it becomes a regular part of our life. When great things happen in our day, we can thank God for them. When you get frustrated or tempted, God is right there to listen to us and help.
Here are some things to keep in mind as we learn to talk to God:
Approach God just as we are. When we do sinful things, it’s really easy to think we have to clean ourselves up first before talking to God, but then we just end up ignoring God for a while. When we mess up, go straight to God, tell Him about it and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice to make you clean. God promised to cleanse us and help us. We can’t cleanse our-self
(Hebrews 4:15,16 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most).
- We can pray about anything. God created the universe, but that doesn’t mean He’s uninterested in the small details of our life (Psalm 139:1-4 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD). Hopes, dreams, relationships, work, money, family, self-discipline, sinful habits — these are all things we can talk to God about. If we ever feel stuck about where to start, try to practise.
- You don’t have to pray alone. The Bible says the Holy Spirit lives in us and that one of His roles is to help us know what to pray (Romans 8:26). You can also experience the joy of praying with other followers of Jesus (Acts 2:42).
If you’re not sure how to begin connecting with God regularly, try these steps:
1. CREATE A NEW HABIT
Find your window. Are you a morning person? A night owl? Are you a shift worker or an exhausted parent who’s sleepy most of the time? Try to pinpoint a time of day that will actually work for you. Would your lunch hour work? You might need to get creative.
Set up a cue. A cue is a connection your brain makes between two things. It’s how habits are formed. Set up a cue for yourself that will help you develop a devotional habit. “Whenever I rock my baby to sleep, I will pray.” “I will read my Bible while I have my morning coffee.” If you’re someone who needs to move, you could listen to the Bible and pray during your walks or runs.
Start small. Don’t aim for hour-long sessions with Jesus just yet. Start with 10-15 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much difference even 15 minutes every day will make.
2. LISTEN TO GOD
Prayer isn’t just we talking to God. Listening to God is important too.
When the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, he speaks to us. But does that mean that every thought that runs through our heads is from God? How do you know when a prompting is from God and when it’s Satan whispering lies?
It is very important to recognize that Satan does come whispering. We all have an inner world and Scripture makes it clear that Satan has at least some capacity to influence our inner conversation. (Mathew 4:1-10 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.  For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.  During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple,  and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’  Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’”  Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”  “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'”
(Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself)
(1 Thessalonians 2:18 We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented) us all point to this.
We also know from (Mattew 16:23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s”) that Satan can tempt us to act on his behalf.
These whispers of the enemy can be very subtle in the way they come to us. He can even present himself as a godly presence disguising his lies as the voice of truth. Learning to sort out the voice of the enemy from the voice of the Spirit is critical to every believer’s spiritual well-being.
When Satan speaks into our thoughts he has only one purpose: to do harm. Whether through discouragement, temptation, frustration, depression, or despair, his goal is always to divide us from God, to cripple our spiritual vitality, and prevent us from obeying and serving God.
THE VOICE OF OUR ENEMY COMES WITH MESSAGES LIKE THESE:
- This situation is hopeless.
- You blew it last time and you’re sure to blow it again.
- You’re no good: too timid, too stupid, too shy, too ugly, etc
- No one cares about you.
- You are all alone here.
- Give up.
- Run away.
- You’re a failure.
- It’s too late to fix it.
- Nothing you can do will help.
- God is mad at you.
- God will never help someone like you.
- Everyone else gets good things but not you.
And on it goes. Satan is the destroyer, and he uses whatever messages he can to discourage and disorient us. When you feel defeated or hopeless, that’s a good sign that Satan is at work within your inner world. When it feels right to nurse your wounds and stay angry, you can be sure that you are being lied to.
If you’ve found yourself caught in these lies, tell us about it (see form below). We’d love to pray with you.
The voice of the Holy Spirit is very different. Whereas the goal of the enemy is destruction, the goal of the Spirit is always edification. He speaks messages intended to lift you up, to encourage you, to bring strength, faith, joy, and peace.
THE MESSAGES OF THE SPIRIT ARE LIKE THESE:
- You are never alone. I am with you.
- You are my beloved child. I died for you.
- You do not need to do anything to please me. I love you already.
- Trust in me. I will give you strength.
- Believe in me, I want to lead you.
- You are mine forever.
- There is no sin so serious that I have not forgiven you.
- All things will work for your good.
- My plans for you are good.
Does this mean that the voice of the Holy Spirit always makes us feel good? No! Sometimes we sin. In those times, the voice of God will bring discipline and correction. How do you tell the difference between God’s corrective discipline and the enemy’s discouragement?
Here’s the key: Satan brings judgment and condemnation; God comes with conviction and a way forward.
- You’ve sinned too many times for God to forgive you again.
- You are weak and hopeless.
- That sin was the last straw. God is against you now.
- It won’t do any good to apologize.
He tempts us with rationalization, excuses, and lies that prevent us from dealing with the sin. We fall for it so easily because we don’t want to deal with the sin in the first place. He keeps us trapped in hurt feelings, shame, embarrassment, pride, anger, and self-justification. He nurses our pain and whispers that we should stay away from God.
God does exactly the opposite. He does not minimize or dismiss our sin but he reminds us that our sin is covered. If we confess and repent, we can be free. The voice of God shows us a way out and gives us the strength to do the hard work of making amends.
THE SPIRIT SAYS:
- What you did was wrong.
- You are forgiven.
- Here is what you need to do to make the situation right.
- I will help you take the right next steps.
- Don’t deny your sin. Confess it and receive the forgiveness Christ died to give you.
(1 John 4:6 But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception). It is not how the voice sounds, but rather what the voice says that lets you know who is speaking. Recognizing the voice of God takes practice, but the litmus test is very simple. The next time you hear a whisper ask yourself, “Is this keeping me trapped and away from God or is it moving me toward God and obedience?”
Answer that question, and you’ll be well on the way to know who is speaking!
3. FIND SOMEONE TO PRAY WITH
It’s a great idea to have the prayer and encouragement of a believer friend, and to get together regularly to share what’s going on in your life. Together, we can come before God in prayer. Can we think of one person in your life who would be willing to pray with you regularly? Get in touch and ask him or her to be your prayer partner. If you can’t think of someone, (send us the email email@example.com ) would be happy to help.