Written by: Nikoya
Praying is something that we all do at one point in our lives, even if we realize it or not. The act of prayer is relative to the person praying. Praying can be called many different patterns of behaviors, such as “wishing”, “reflecting”, “meditating”, and “searching”. But for the sake of this article, I am referring to praying in the traditional sense. I’m talking about how to pray to God for answers, clarity, protection or for your heart’s desire.
Having a strong background in the black church, and spending time in a popular Seminary, I have witnessed many different and eccentric styles of praying. Praying can be intense, long and emotional, or it can be simple and short. There is no requirement for what you consider to be a prayer. There are no prerequisites.
At least from a spiritual standpoint, prayer should be a heartfelt intimate experience you have with God; and if you are coming from a religious standpoint, then prayer may consist of fixed words, hymns or “mantras”, considering the religious group you are associated with. Just remember that examples from the bible typically show intimate and relational prayers to God. When Hannah prayed for a son (amazon affiliate link) she was alone and very emotional. When Jesus prayed he was often times in the wilderness and longing for a deep connection to the Father. When Job prayed from the heart he was alone and in a lot of pain. Strong emotions and a desire to connect with God are trending examples that we are given from the Bible about effective prayer.
The excellent thing about prayer is that it is a reminder to look inside oneself before looking outside of themselves for answers. Could things in your life be the way they are, because you are the way you are? More than likely, yes it is. Prayer is a tool that you can use to gain clarity from your own peace of mind. It can also give the opportunity to allow God to speak to you if you are receptive, but it can aid with calming your inner turmoil which can help you focus and achieve more perspective as well.
A trend in the black church (and other spiritual organizations), is to blame a lot of things on the devil, and pray for hours and hours trying to bind and cast demons out that they attribute to the root of their problems. This is dangerous behavior because they end up giving more energy and power to negativity, if there a small chance anything truly demonic is happening around them. However, the huge majority of the time it is not “the devil”, “demons” or anything that needs to be bound in a person. Things are the way they are in people’s lives because they have “decided” for it to be that way. The devil didn’t make you do nothing honey; you did something you regret today because you made the decision to do it in your past. Take responsibility and ask God to help you to move on. One thing the devil is not is omnipresent. The devil is not like God in the ability to be everywhere at all times. The devil cannot be in 500 million places at once. He is not God. For every 4 out of 10 people running around talking about the “devil made me do it” or “the devil tried to steal my joy” etc., etc. they are simply lying to themselves. More than likely, the devil is not bothering you.
In the Bible we only see three times when the devil was physically interfering with a human life in the Earth, and that is with Adam in Genesis, Job in the book of Job, and Jesus in the New Testament. That is it! So, what are you doing so powerful that the devil is personally contending with you? Anything? No? Ok, then your inner battles are rooted in your mind. In your decisions. Through your choices 🙂 . Even if you are “cursed” or have some sort of negative spirit attached to you, it still came from a root of an act of disobedience, either by you or a family member before you, and will not be simply prayed away. It will take an action of faith, in addition to prayer.
The most important idea to understand when it relates to prayer is this:
– It always takes action to execute change.
This is how the universal law of the universe works. This is also called “having faith” in the spiritual sense. Many people get hope and faith mixed up. Hope is the inclination of what you want; faith is the substance of it. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1-2)”
You can pray all day, but if you do not apply an act of faith, you will not see much change.
Praying in tongues
Tongues, or the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, is a phenomenon that is still alive today in the church. It is a way to communicate with God in the realm of the spirit. It is considered a spiritual gift, one that was first introduced in the Bible in the book of Acts (Chapter 2 – resource link). The disciples were in one place together, and they all began to speak in other languages. It was noted in the text that many of the tongues they were speaking were native languages of the land that the Jews were from, even though they (the ones speaking the tongues) were not from the same land, nor knew the native language. The Jews (Pharisees) that were walking by when this happened were able to give an account of what they were saying and said that they were speaking of all the great things that God had done.
From that scripture we know that there are the tongues of man. The evidence of the spirit and the spiritual gift of tongues can be the language of man or of angels. Throughout the rest of the New Testament, tongues were used in prayer and Paul instructed people to “pray in tongues when the spirit gives them the unction, but not in public, unless there is an interpreter (Corinthians – various verses).”
It is safe to say that tongues are an elevated language of prayer through the Holy Spirit, which is a direct connection to God and His angels.
It is a debate whether or not everybody has this capability or not. I’m sure if you desire for the ability, ask for it and then act on it, you will eventually show evidence of it.
One thing that praying in tongues is not, is this: uncontrollable, uncomfortable, scary, cult-ish or giving the feeling of possession. You are completely aware and in control of yourself when you have this spiritual gift. It is definitely a gift that can deeply enrich your prayer life taking your mind to new heights of awareness.