Prayer 101: How Do I Talk to God?

By   •   August 10, 2009

Whether you’re searching for God or a longtime believer, there’s a good chance you have questions about prayer. How exactly are you supposed to pray? And why should you do it? Here are some guidelines from Billy Graham.

How do I talk to God? 

Billy Graham: Prayer is simply talking to God—and the most important thing I can say about this is that God wants you to talk to Him! He loves us and He has promised to hear us when we pray. How can you learn to pray? First, understand why prayer is possible.

Prayer is possible because Jesus Christ has removed the barrier between us and God—a barrier caused by our sins. You see, sin separates us from God, and because of that we have no right to come before Him. But by His death on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and removed the barrier. God then gives us the privilege of coming into His presence when we commit our lives to Christ.

The Bible says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). If you have never done so, ask Christ to come into your life today.

Then understand that God now welcomes you into His presence and promises to hear you—and He cannot lie. The Bible says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). Trust His promises and learn to bring every concern to Him in prayer.

Does God only hear us when we pray out loud or does He hear silent prayers also? Please forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I didn’t grow up in a religious home and have just become a Christian.

Billy Graham: Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions when you don’t understand something about the Christian life; after all, God wants you to come to know Him more and more each day. Jesus’ disciples repeatedly asked for His help, and so should we. On one occasion they said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26).

God even hears our prayers when we can’t even put them into words—times, for example, when our hearts are too burdened or confused even to speak. The Bible says, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the privilege of prayer—a privilege that is possible because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank God for the privilege of prayer and learn daily to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Does God really answer prayers?

Billy Graham: Prayer is one of our greatest privileges as God’s children, and even if God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers at first, don’t stop praying. God loves you, and no prayer goes unanswered.

Jesus once told a story about a poor widow who repeatedly asked a corrupt judge to do what was right. (You can read it in Luke 18:1-8.) Repeatedly the judge refused—not because her request was wrong, but because he just didn’t care.

But because of her persistence, he eventually gave in and granted her what she deserved. In a far greater way, Jesus said, God (who is righteous and does care for us) hears the prayers of His people, and we must never give up.

But let me add two things. First, realize that sometimes God is actually answering our prayers when we don’t realize it—and the reason is because His answer may be “No” or “Wait.” Yes, we think we know what’s best for us—but God sees the whole picture, and sometimes He lovingly refuses to give us what we request, because He knows it isn’t according to His perfect plan.

Second, remember that we have the privilege of coming to God only because Jesus Christ died for our sins. Have you given your life to Him? If not, let your first prayer be one of confession and faith, asking Him to come into your life as your Lord and Savior.

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  1. Lut says:

    God answers our prayer , with patience it’s going to happen

  2. Roger Davis says:

    I have been a Born Again Christian since I was 14 – I believe in the Father – The Son and The Holy Ghost. The Trinity: I admit that I don’t exactly understand the Power of how God – Jesus and Heaven All Work but I Do Believe that the Only Way A Person Can Be Saved Is By Accepting Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior. 43 Years Later – I Still Believe That Jesus I Our Lord and Savior. I Am Very Glad I Found This Website!

  3. Sybella Murphy says:

    Thank you for your day by day devotional, it has often ministered to me.

  4. Ed Finnen says:

    I’m 58 years old and for some reason last night I typed in how to pray to the Lord and found this Web site what a blessing. I was raised evangelical fundamentalist and attended a Christian high school. There was plenty of fire and brimstone and. Fear being taught but how to pray to the Lord was never taught now that ii have learned how to pray to the Lord what a blessing it will be

  5. Juan Manuel Martinez says:

    Pray for me, I’m twenty one and just don’t know where Gods taking me in life. I feel like there is no advancement in my life. And I’ve prayed the same prayer, but I feel like it’s meaningless to keep on asking him to show me his will sometimes. I know he had something in store for me but I want to learn to trust that the spirit will lead me to pray the things I ought to pray for! Thank you!

    1. Lut says:

      You r still young lots of things will happen in your favor don’t lose hope be patient . Be focused on doing good things in your life and be bold in your prayer. Close your eyes pray in a quiet space when you pray. First ask for forgiveness , praise him and ask for blesings

  6. Martha Powell says:

    Love to read the Holy Bible and also the comments by Billy Graham.

  7. Sandra J. Vassor says:

    Your explanation of prayer has touched me, because this morning I woke up feeling down this morning, I immediately got down on my knees and starting praying, but I couldn’t get my words right, I didn’t know how to start the prays and what I’m praying for. All I know I need to talk to God about my problems, so I said to myself; maybe I need to read my bible lessons. I got up and start reading one of your lesson; which was from yesterday, because I’m day behind of my lesson and it was about praying. I said God must knew that I was feeling some way about my prays this morning,because I just couldn’t my words together this morning. Thanks for inspiring me this morning .

  8. Bill Meyers says:

    Your explanation of prayer has touched me and opened my heart and mind. What a blessing to know that Jesus gave himself for me that I am in God’ presence when I pray. Thank you Reverend Graham.

  9. Eli says:

    I don’t know if I have the words to express the impact Dr Graham has had on my life, but I do know he has been a constant force in my Christian life of 56 years…Thank you…..amen

  10. Ashok Bhambhani says:

    Thanks God nw only i know hw to talk heavenly Father