Skip to Content

How to Pray



As we walk through seasons of “Calling on Heaven” through prayer and fasting, how can we cultivate a desire to commune with God regularly? In this message, Ben Stuart offers us some practical tips for integrating prayer into our daily lives and shows us that desperation might drive us to a place of prayer, but it is our delight in Jesus that will keep us there.

Key Takeaway

God, our Father, delights in talking with His children. He wants to hear everything, and He loves to give in return. He talks back and gifts us with His friendship. It may start with the discipline of praying, but over time, it will turn into delight.

Why pray at all?

When desperation meets the object of desire, the result is delight. Desperation will drive you to the Presence of God. When you are calling on Heaven, do you think to pray more? When desperation drives you there, you desire to stay there. We see in Psalm 42:1-2 that desperation can drive you to prayer. Discipline can, too, but how lovely to desire it, for your soul to thirst for God, where we seek not just relief from problems but desire to be in His Presence.

Prayer doesn't always start as delight. Sometimes, it starts as a discipline. Discipline can lead to desperation. The discipline of honest questions before the Lord can turn into desperate questions that draw you close to Him. A desperation will drive you to His Presence, but a desire to be there will sustain you.

Knowledge is a fuel for the affections. Love seeks knowledge of the beloved. Desperation leads to desire, and that's where hope is found.

Discipline will keep you. Desperation will lead you. Desire will sustain you.

What is prayer?

It's talking to God. The first example we have of communion with God is Adam being unashamed; he's able to be vulnerable with God because He's safe. Seven generations from Adam in Genesis 5:21-25, we meet Enoch. Enoch walked with God. You walk with people you like and talk about everything. Spending that much time with God doesn't make you irrelevant to the culture around you. Enoch would linger in the Presence of God, and that made Him more relevant as he prophesied to his generation. Hebrews 11:5 remembers Enoch and says he did not face death and was commended by God. He rewards those who seek Him. You come to your dad expecting him to give you what you need. Enoch went to God expecting His Presence. Moses did this in Exodus 33:7-11 and was called a friend of God.

Some would say His Presence and friendship don't sound like life-changing benefits when life is going on all around you. The truth is we all glory in our connections. We love to say, "I know a guy." Moses is getting to say that about the Almighty. That's what is on the table made available to us. Familiarity doesn't lack reverence. Psalm 25:14 says fear and friendship mingle. Sitting with God doesn't change your healthy and reverent fear of Him, but it does put into perspective your fear of everything else. There is peace in His Presence. You get the friendship and the fear.

That's what prayer is. You get to walk with Almighty God and talk as a friend with the Lord on high.

When and where should you pray?

Anytime, any place. That's what Enoch did. Structure also has benefits: a place where you can focus and have time without distraction. That's why Moses went to a tent outside the camp. The early Church had morning, noon, and evening prayers. Paul also says to pray without ceasing. See 1 Thessalonians 5:16. In everything you do, be aware of the Presence of God. James 5:13-14 says to pray no matter what you're feeling.

How should you pray?

You can say anything to Him. The Bible has really long prayers and super short prayers. The Psalms are full of different approaches. There is a freedom to come into God's Presence with who you are.

Structure does help. The Lord's Prayer is a framework. You can read through the psalms and pray. You can use ACTS.

  • Adoration- Hallowed be your name. Marvel at who He is. He's different than any other being, and He's constant. This can help you recenter and quiet your internal noise. It's not wrong to use other's words to describe your own heart. Use Psalms, liturgies, songs, etc.
  • Confession- Forgive us our sins. Pray what is really in you. Cast your anxiety on Him; He cares for you. See 1 Peter 5:7. Start with confessing your anxieties, then your insecurities, and then your sins. See Psalm 28:13, 32:1-7.
  • Thanksgiving- Tell Him what you're thankful for. See Colossians 4:2; we pray continually and with thanksgiving. Push away distractions that lead to anger and anxiety.
  • Supplication- Give us this day our daily bread. We are meant to ask Him for things. We're supposed to come to Him with our needs; He delights to fill empty hands.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 shows us that we are allowed to pray like this, asking God for blessing. God stopped mid-genealogy to prove that. His name was "Pain" and trauma from his family; he looked to God and trusted Him as a good Father and asked Him for His hand of favor. God was happy to supply that.

Hebrews 4:14 calls Jesus our high priest. The job of a priest is to connect you to God. We have a High Priest in Heaven. You don't need an earthly one; you have one on the Throne: Jesus, the Son of God. How do we get to talk to Jesus like He's our Father? Because we've got Jesus to make that connection for us. He's the door and our access.

Why do sinful people get to enter the Throne room?

Hebrews 4:15 says that when Jesus left the Throne room to come to us, He took on our temptation yet never buckled to sin. This made him our perfect representative to stand for us before Heaven. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could be made right with God. See 2 Corinthians 5:21. He buried our shame so that the doorway to intimacy with God would be wide open.

Hebrews 4:16- So that is why we can draw near to the Throne of Grace with confidence. We can receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.


"The prayer before every prayer is, 'may it be the real I who talk to You and the real You I talk to.'"

C.S. Lewis

Discussion Questions

Share message

Message Topics

Scripture References

  • Luke 11:1-13
  • Genesis 5:21-25
  • Jude 14
  • Hebrews 11:5
  • Exodus 33:7-11
  • Psalm 25:14
  • James 5:13-14
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Proverbs 28:13
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.