One of the most common frustrations that people express to me concerning prayer is this: “I don’t know how to begin”.
Anyone can pray. Satanists can pray. Religious people can pray. But only the Holy Spirit can make your prayer more than an act of human effort. If it begins with human effort, prayer remains powerless. If it is born of the Spirit, prayer becomes effective.
So how can we ensure that prayer begins and remains spiritual?
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. - Psalm 40:1
We ensure that by simply waiting.
Many approach the Lord in a hurry and rush into their prayer requests, making declaration of their needs.
Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with presenting your needs to the Lord. In fact, the scripture encourages us to ask the Lord for what we need.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. - Philippians 4:6
But we cannot stop at the prayer request. The prayer request is only the beginning of prayer. It unburdens you and allows your mind to be put at ease. When you know that the Lord has heard your requests, you are filled with a certain peace. That peace enables you to focus your heart on pursuing the Lord simply for the sake of His glorious presence.
So the prayer request is a valuable tool in prayer.
But beyond that, prayer will take you to a place of waiting for the Lord. Notice that you’re not just waiting but waiting for the Lord. Wait. Expect. Patiently wait for the Lord to touch you through His Holy Spirit and guide you further into prayer.
The Holy Spirit wants to take you into the depths of prayer, but He waits for you at the gate of stillness.
So I encourage you, dear reader, to add to your prayer time a moment of pause. Wait for the Lord to quicken you so that you can call upon His name, not from a place of human effort, but from the Spirit.
So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. - Psalm 80:18
Wait upon the Lord. Be still and wait to sense His guidance. He will lead you from there.