The great Creator God—who made everything and is calling you to be a part of His family forever—is eager and anxious for you to talk to Him!
If you are going to be one of His sons or daughters forever, then it is important for you to learn how to communicate with your Heavenly Father.
God communicates with us through the Bible. Every word of Scripture is “breathed by God” and inspired for us (2 Timothy 3:16 2 Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
American King James Version×). As we read and study God’s Word, we need to understand that it is a personal message for each of us. However, communication is a two-way street. God also wants us to talk to Him. Prayer is personal, intimate communication with the supreme Father of the universe.
God wants you to tell Him—as you would a close friend—how you feel, what you need and what you think. You can do this through heartfelt prayer. Prayer is our part of the two-way conversation with God. God speaks to us through the Bible, and we speak to Him through prayer. In this way we get to know God, and He comes to know us. The Bible shows us how this process works.
Here are some basic principles to guide you in prayer:
1. Know that God delights in the prayers of those who seek to please Him and do His will
Proverbs 15:8 Proverbs 15:8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
American King James Version×tells us: “The prayer of the upright is His delight.” Your Heavenly Father wants you to pray to Him and is delighted when you do! He is always available and wants to listen to you.
2. Be confident that God hears your prayers
1 John 5:14 1 John 5:14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:
American King James Version×tells us, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”
Our Savior and Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, who spoke often to His Heavenly Father, had absolute confidence that God always heard His prayers. In John 11:42 John 11:42And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me.
American King James Version×, He said to our Father, “I know that You always hear Me.”
3. Pray in a private place
In Matthew 6:6 Matthew 6:6But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.
American King James Version×, Jesus told His disciples, “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” It is important to pray in a private place— perhaps in a bedroom, a spare room, or even a closet. This will make it easier to concentrate and avoid distraction, and you will know that your prayers are heard. Private time with God is very important, and will become even more so as the years pass.
4. Set aside a regular time to pray
For many people, the morning is best—before your school day or work day gets started. Jesus Christ spent the first part of His day in prayer, before anything else could interrupt Him. Notice Mark 1:35 Mark 1:35And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
American King James Version×: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place, and there He prayed.” The prophet Daniel had a well-known schedule of praying three times a day: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10 Daniel 6:10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
American King James Version×). Even the threat of death did not cause Daniel to change his prayer habit!
5. Follow the guideline prayer that Jesus gave us
Notice how Jesus began His sample prayer: “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9 Matthew 6:9After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
American King James Version×). Jesus instructed us to pray to the Father in His name (John 16:23 John 16:23And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
American King James Version×). Give honor to God and acknowledge His greatness and the blessings He has given to us. Pray for God’s Kingdom to come to this earth. Next comes the hard part—seeking God’s will. God’s will for you is to be a part of His family (John 6:40 John 6:40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×). But it also includes being patient and continuing to live according to His laws and commandments. Romans 2:7 Romans 2:7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:
American King James Version×tells us we can have the promise of “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.” Ask God in your daily prayers for help, to supply your daily needs and for the needs of others. When praying, acknowledge your shortcomings and ask for forgiveness. We must also learn to forgive others who might have offended us. In Luke’s account of the example prayer, he concludes this way: “And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Luke 11:4 Luke 11:4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
American King James Version×). We should pray for help in avoiding sin each day and in learning how to forgive others.
6. Read the Bible out loud as you pray, discussing the concepts and meaning of each verse
This can be an effective tool when learning to communicate with your Creator. Start with the Psalms, reading perhaps 10 or 12 verses each day as you conclude your prayer. The psalms address every human emotion we experience—the highs of joy, the depths of despair and everything in between. God shows us how to deal with every aspect of life in this wonderful book of prayers and songs! Many also use the book of Proverbs as a guide. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs—enough to read one each day of the month. The wisdom you will learn by reading Proverbs over and over is beyond measure. Reading it out loud as you pray and asking God to help you to absorb this wisdom will result in an incredible benefit for you, both as a person and as a member of God’s family.
The prayers of Daniel are an excellent outline of how to communicate with God, as are the prayers of Paul, Nehemiah and others. Read them as if they were your own and apply them to the circumstances you face now. You will be amazed at how you can relate to them!
7. Never be afraid to pray, and always remember the God we serve wants to hear your prayers
God describes Himself to us this way: “Merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7 Exodus 34:6-7  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, to the third and to the fourth generation.
American King James Version×). And Psalms 145:18 Psalms 145:18The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.
American King James Version×says: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”