Over a month ago, my therapist told me to quit praying for myself for a month. I could pray in adoration of God, but no prayers for myself. After all, the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf and God knows what we need before we ask.
After that experiment, he told me to stop praying at all. Just to sit quietly with no distractions and let the Spirit pray for me.
He and my husband don’t believe our prayers have any ability to “change God’s mind.” Other people do and are constantly asking for prayer for someone who is very sick, someone who has lost their job, for people who are starving.
Jesus said to pray like this: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
In the garden of Gethsemane, three times, Jesus ” fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
In Psalms 28: 2, David prayed this way: “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.”
Daniel 6:10: Three times a day Daniel got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Matthew 7:7: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Luke 18:1: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Ephesians 6:18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
James 5:16: The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
1 Peter 3:12: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer
Romans 8:26: The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
So, how do I pray? On my face, on my knees, with my hands raised? Does it make any difference to God’s will if I pray? Scripture seems to indicate it does make a difference.
But can we really “change God’s mind?”
Honest to goodness, I have no idea what the answer is. It sure seems like, at the very least, I should know how to pray after 50 years.