Most of my prayers sounds like this: “Dear God, AAAAAAAAAAAAAA! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
I should explain. I think of prayer as having four steps—Praise. Repent. Ask. Yield. (P.R.A.Y.) But my prayers tend to jump to and stay focused on the third step—Ask. “Dear God, please bless this and fix that and be with them.” How about you? Do you focus on the Ask when you pray?
Peter offers an encouragement to not skip the praise. He begins, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:3). Before asking for God to fix his friends’ suffering, Peter pushes his friends to praise God in the midst of their suffering.
Here’s why—Once we praise, our prayers change. Once we spend quality (and quantity!) time saying good things about God’s love, God’s power, God’s holiness, God’s wisdom, God’s control, God’s presence, and God’s character, our prayers evolve. We immediately start to Repent: “God, you are so good to me, yet I chose to do something bad against you . . .” And we Ask: “God, if people only knew how good you are, doctor visits and medical bills and loneliness couldn’t stop their joy. So open their eyes to know you better!” And we Yield: “God, you know everything and you want what’s best for me, so I trust you. I’m asking for this, but your will be done.”
Can I challenge you for the next 24 hours to begin every prayer with a word of Praise?