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Learning to Pray

faith prayer Feb 03, 2024
Learning to Pray

4 minute read

By Bethany Rees

I love Disney’s cartoon movie Aladdin. Between the music and Robin Williams’ amazing performance, I can watch this movie and keep singing “A Whole New World” a lot. Like most people, the thought of having a magic genie to grant me wishes sounds pretty nice.

If I’m being honest, for most of my life I’ve treated prayer to God like asking a genie for a wish. 

“God, here is what I want. Please provide it.”

“God, here are my plans. Please bless them.”

“God, continue to make me like ___, so I’m not like those people who ___.”

As I shared in the Learning to Release Control blog post, I tend to make decisions first and then ask God for a blessing on the back side of that decision. But God is good in that He continually seeks to humble my heart so I can fully seek His. 

So after years of praying wishes, God is “slowing my roll.” God is asking…no saying: 

“Bethany, is all this talking to Me after you have already decided things really prayer?” 

“Bethany, is talking to Me about things that center around your will and your “wishes” really prayer?” 

The answer is “NOPE!”

At some point when I was a kid I did learn the ACTS model of prayer, but I never really applied it beyond that of a fast checkbox list so I could get to my “wishes” part: 

Adoration - Praise and worship God first.

Confession - Repent of sin.

Thanksgiving - Show gratitude.

Supplication - Make your request known to God. 

The heart of prayer is seeking God the Father, to spend time in relationship with Him. I sadly used prayer for blessing only. For any relationship to grow people closer, it requires time spent together. This will always be true.  Just like the truth that when you and I seek God, we will always find Him. 

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29:13 

The more we seek to spend time with God in scripture, worship, and prayer the more He will change our hearts to become more like His. 

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.~ Ephesians 4:22-24 [Emphasis added]

The promise of transformation in Ephesians (and the entire Bible) is true. I am continually experiencing it.

The more I read, memorize and pray scripture, the more my heart continues to transition from a paradigm of God as the genie to the God He is. A great place to start in memorizing scripture for prayer is with Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (also found in Luke 11:2-4).

The Lord’s Prayer

9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed [Holy] be your name.

10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,

12 and forgive us our debts [sin], as we also have forgiven our debtors[those that sin against us].

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

~ Matthew 6:9-13 [Emphasis mine]

Praying this humble and heart-felt prayer reminds us that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere), and omnibenevolent (supremely good). When you and I recognize who God is and what He has saved us from, it humbles us in heart, mind, and prayer.

As I seek God, my heart is aligning with God, and my prayers are shifting. I am learning to go to God BEFORE I think too long, take action, make decisions, step into an environment promoting temptation, speak, or take risks. God is no longer my genie in a bottle, but in His rightful place as God of all, the “I Am,” “the alpha and the Omega.” 

Am I perfect in prayer? Absolutely not because perfection is never possible. I occasionally catch myself slipping into the selfishness “genie” prayer and have to take my thoughts captive to Christ. But am I being sanctified (set apart and transformed closer to the heart and mind of Christ) because of prayer? Absolutely! 

So let us humble ourselves and take ACTSion. (See what I did there?) 

Let us truly pour out Adoration for our Heavenly Father and declare our love and respect for Him. 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:5

Let us Confess our sins with humility and repent (turn) from our wicked ways. 

If people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~2 Chronicles 7:14

Let us give Thanksgiving for all good gifts are from God and all suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. 

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” ~ James 1:16-17a

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5:3-5

Let us Supplicate by humbling asking God to align our thoughts, desires, actions and requests with His Will and in His Way. For when our hearts are humbled and aligned with God, well…as Jesus tells us:

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. ~Matthew 21:22


Know Better. Do Better. Live Better. Learn to Pray!

Rocks before Sand!


9 Pray then 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 this day our daily bread,[c]

12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

~ Matthew 6:9-13

Theme Song: 

The Lord's Prayer - Matt Maher (Lyric Video)

 References Used:

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