It is good to have time alone with God. How often that is depends on our circumstances, but once we develop an intimate relationship with Him, then it is a place we want to frequent regularly.

It is good, also, to spend time praying with others:

‘Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven, For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

Matthew 18 vs. 19 and 20

It is most important to remember that prayer is not a one-way conversation, and that all prayer times should contain elements of:

1. Invocation

‘awareness of His presence’. Through our prayers we can enter in before the throne of God. Jesus has made that possible through His death and resurrection. Allow the imagination to picture Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father – see what else comes to mind as you survey the scene.

Leaving this scene, focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit is with us now. Be aware of His presence. We may feel something, we may not. Feelings are not faith. Faith simply believes we are in His presence as we pray.

2. Confession

There is nothing we can confess to God that He doesn’t already know about. Be honest, but don’t dwell on sins confessed.

Simply be aware of our unworthiness compared to His purity.

I am often reminded of the words in the book of Revelation, where the apostle John is confronted by the risen Christ:

‘When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

Revelation 1 vs. 17

Having confessed our unworthiness, we need to know His right hand on us and hear His words: “Do not be afraid.”

3. Thanksgiving

Knowing that we are ‘ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’, should inspire us into thanksgiving.

Allow the Holy Spirit to release joy into our spirits. Take time to thank Him and praise Him.

4. Petition

Only then can we come with assurance to bring our own personal needs before Him. Remember, He knows our needs before we bring them, but He encourages us to:

‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’

Luke 11 vs. 9 (KJV)

It may be helpful to focus on the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, and the gifts of the Spirit: speaking in tongues, the interpretation of tongues, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, the discerning of spirits, miracles, healing and faith.

Once we have brought our own needs then we can move to:

5. Intercession

Praying for the needs of others, or issues local, national or global. Issues within the Church, and prayers for the sick will often need to be brought before the Lord.

6. Listen

Again, simple faith is required. We are in His presence. Allow Him to speak. It may be useful to write down words that come into the mind. These are words which He is speaking to you personally, so there is no need to share them with anyone else. It will be encouraging, however, to read through all He has been saying to you from time-to-time.