Prayer First Aid

Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 

If you've ever struggled to know what to pray for or how to pray, this list, based on Psalm 25:16-21 will help you focus on some of the most important aspects of prayer:

1.         Honesty—Reread Psalm 25:16: "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." Who says in our world, "I'm lonely"? No one wants to admit they're lonely! But you can tell God. You can open your heart. You can share with Him your deepest secrets.

2.         Petition—Verse 17 reads, "The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses." Tell God exactly what you want. Does God always do what I ask Him to do? No. But I don't need to hold back in prayer, fearful that I'll ask the wrong things. My kids never held back when petitioning me: "Can I have this? Can I have that?" My response was often "No," but they kept asking. Just tell God what you want because sometimes He will say, "Yes. Tomorrow. Soon."

3.         Confession—As you petition God, you will often begin to think, "Boy, I really don't deserve to ask for anything." Correct! So you might want to deal with your sin. Confession is a huge part of prayer. Verse 18 says, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins." 

4.         CircumstancesTell God what's happening. You're thinking, "He already knows." I know. But if you tell Him, then you'll know that He knows. When David said, "Consider how many are my foes" (v.19), he was actually asking God to count his enemies. Prayer is an awesome outlet. No one listens more attentively than God. No one is more worthy to unburden your heart to. 

5.         Faith"Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You," reads verse 20. That's faith. "You're going to do it, God. You're going to work this out." Express your faith to God and feel it grow. 

6.         Dedication—Before you end your prayer, commit yourself to God. "May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you" (v.21). David is not saying where he is spiritually, but where he longs to be. He's recommitting himself: "God, my dedication to doing what pleases You is going to have to sustain me here while I'm waiting for You to do the things that I'm trusting You to do." 
—James MacDonald