There are many ways to pray. You may have been taught to put your hands together, bow your head, and close your eyes. Other people might say to face a certain direction, at particular times of the day, and use a prayer mat.
Or you might have learned to recite prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer, or use steps to pray, such as ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Other times, people may insist you finish your prayer with the words “in the name of Jesus.”
These are all points to consider and can teach us much about prayer. Yet, sometimes these different ideas can make us feel like we are praying in the wrong way. So, how can we pray so we are not second-guessing ourselves?
I want to give you a one-word answer: Boldly.
When Jesus took his last breath and died, the Bible tells us:
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:51-53
Jesus’ death occurred with significant natural and supernatural events. It moved heaven and earth.
Jesus’ death literally shook the earth. An earthquake occurred which caused the rocks to split and tombs to break open. Jesus’ death overcame death—the natural course of human existence–leading to people coming back to life and walking around Jerusalem.
Jesus’ death also altered human access to God —the way in which we pray. The curtain in the temple that separated ordinary people from the place where God dwelt tore apart.
Up to that point, only the high priest on the Day of Atonement was allowed into the holy of holies on the other side of the curtain. Even then the high priest had to follow certain rituals, including bringing blood from animal sacrifices, to make amends for the sins of the people before God.
God put these somber instructions in place because he’s too holy for an ordinary, human being to come into his presence.
Yet, God sent his own Son to become both high priest and the sacrifice. This one act on the cross, where Jesus gave his own blood, became sufficient to do away with the rituals forever and opened up the way for all people to approach God.
And so, the Bible says: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16
So how should we pray? Boldly, which means:
You can pray without fear. It took me a while to realize I do not have to be frightened or ashamed before God. You can read about it here. Instead, when you pray, your mood, tone, and manner can be confident.
You come to God’s throne. This word implies reverence, just as you would be respectful if you went to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen of England. Yet, you can come…
Grace means you are welcome to come freely to a holy God no matter who you are or what you have done because Jesus has satisfied the requirements to make it happen.
So, instead of worrying you are not praying in the right way, or that you have to pray in a specific way, be confident and pray boldly.
Say this prayer with me:
Dear God, because of your Son, Jesus, I now know I can step boldly into your presence and talk to you without being afraid. I will no longer question whether I am coming to you in the right way. Amen.