‘There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.’ Genesis 12.8
When you pray, what do you call upon? What is the first thing you summon up and call to mind?
More often than not, it is our mood or our feelings that we focus on, and we let them shape the tone and language of our prayers. They can also have a big influence on the faith behind our prayers, but does this matter? After all, doesn’t God hear every prayer and respond with love and compassion no matter how the prayer is phrased?
Interestingly, Jesus did talk about the way we pray and the words we use. He commended persistence and seemed to frown upon babbling! In fact, he gave us what we call the Lord’s Prayer as a model for how we should pray to God.
A good starting point in prayer is to call on the name of the Lord, to deliberately turn away from your own feelings and tune in to the reality of the nature of God. You may feel defeated, but God does not. Perhaps you feel discouraged by events, but he isn’t. Or it may be that you can’t see a way through, but he can.
Before you utter a single word in prayer, put aside your feelings and focus for a while on the wonder of Jesus. Let this perspective shape your prayers that follow.