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Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. When I talk about prayer, I mean talking to God just like the words on this page are talking to you now. I am not talking about saying The Lord’s Prayer or a standard, memorized prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer, taken from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter six and verses nine through thirteen, is a prayer that is used throughout many religious organizations. In my church, which is Presbyterian, we recite The Lord’s Prayer during our worship service.

Before this prayer starts, Jesus says, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.” He also says, “This, then is how you should pray.” Jesus didn’t say – This is what you should pray.

If we only recite prayers, we are not having a two-way conversation with God. Learning how to pray means spending time talking and listening to God.

After hearing a sermon by my pastor called, “The Secret to Successful Prayer,” my whole concept of prayer changed. I realized that I could talk to God just like I talked to my husband, a family member or friend. At any time and in any place, I could have a conversation with God. My new definition of prayer was talking to God, not using a Bible verse or a church written prayer, it was talking and building a relationship.

After discovering the power of prayer in my life as I began to talk to God more often, I assumed that everyone thought of prayer in the same way. I found that not to be the case. Here’s a story to explain what I mean.

I held a wonderful position as Vice President of Marketing for a Christian organization. We had developed a state-of-the-art Internet and retail shopping program that when people signed up through their church and made a purchase a percentage of every sale would go back to support their church. I had a two person team that worked for me.

There were some issues going on within the company and the three of us didn’t feel right about where things were headed. In an effort to do something about it, we decided to get together to pray. One of my team members was a Baptist minister and the other was of the Catholic faith. When we got together to pray my Catholic friend asked how we would pray. All she knew was the Lord’s Prayer or other prayers that she said at church. The minister and I looked at each other and said, “We’ll start.”

So, he began to pray asking for guidance and offering up our concerns about the situation. Then I began to pray and offered up additional requests or duplicating with emphasis the on key points from the prior prayer. The door opened and the next thing we heard was crying. Our Catholic friend had left the room to grab some tissues. She walked back in and said, “I’ve never prayed like that. That was beautiful.” My friend is a devout Catholic, but she had not prayed, or simply talked to God in the way that we prayed that day.

Communication is key to any successful relationship. Prayer is our communication with God and creating a relationship with Him. If you can talk or think, you can pray. It’s that simple. Because it can be so simple, you may think that prayer is such a little thing. It’s not. If you don’t know what to do for someone or how to help someone pray for them. Prayer is powerful. God hears our prayers.

As in any relationship, persistence is needed in keeping the relationship strong. Our prayer life needs to be consistent and persistent. I have learned to be persistent in praying to God. To be successful in any endeavor in life, persistence is the key. Little children are the best examples of persistence. They will ask and ask and ask for something. They may not get what they want, but they will certainly get an answer. We are God’s children, so we need to be persistent like a child in our prayers.

To learn how to pray, simply talk to God. Express your gratitude and give thanks for what you have – the air that you breathe, talents you’ve been given, family, friends. Welcome challenges to help you grow and to depend on God to see you through. Be persistent in talking to God. When you are finished, remain quiet for a few minutes to listen for guidance and insight. Pray for others.

Our world can be pretty scary. There is war, violence, hunger and heartache happening at this present moment. Pray for friends, family, loved ones, our country, our military men and women and our world. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.

A MESSAGE BY Jackie Trottmann