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Have you ever finished a prayer and realized you couldn’t remember what you’d even said?
If so, you’re not alone!
The Bible Dictionary tells us that “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God. . . then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part,” . . . but sometimes prayer feels ANYTHING but natural or instinctive! In fact, sometimes praying feels downright boring.
So how can we do better and actually begin to enjoy our prayers? Let’s dive into it!
First, the main problem with our prayers feeling unnatural, boring, or stagnant is that Satan hates when we pray.
Brother Robert L. Millett said, “Because prayer is such a vital element of growth and spiritual formation, Satan… will do all he can to hinder us from praying…. And even if we manage temporarily to break the pull of spiritual inertia, he will seek to… [lead] us cunningly to be content with mediocrity, shallowness, and routine in our prayers.”
Did you catch that? Satan hates prayer because he knows it’s powerful so he tries his hardest to stop us from saying prayers at all. If he can’t succeed at that, and we start saying a prayer, then he begins tempting us to say one of three types of prayers:
If we say one of these prayers Satan hasn’t exactly won– because we DID pray– but he also hasn’t lost.
And that is where we make our biggest mistake. We don’t “beat back” Satan with our prayers and it is ruining them!
So how do we beat Satan at his game? How do we take back our prayers?
With the 3 B’s!
What are the 3 B’s? They are 3 types of prayers that beat back the mediocre, shallow, and routine prayers Satan wants us to say. The B prayers are:
The first B is Bottom of the Barrel prayers.
This type of prayer is perfect for someone who has a lot of feelings, thoughts, and ideas that they love to share with others. To say this type of prayer you simply have to picture your soul as a large barrel full of water.
Often when we pray we use a small dropper, gather a tiny bit of water from our personal barrel and give just a few drops to God.
But that is not what he wants. God wants ALL of it. He wants us to pour out our whole souls, the entire barrelful in prayer.
Brother S. Michael Wilcox explained why when he said, “If you don’t pour out, God can’t pour back in.”
In other words, you need to make space in your barrel for God to be able to pour in His goodness, and the best way to do this is by pouring out until you get to the bottom of the barrel.
Alma discovered this was true in Mosiah 26:14 which says, “And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him . . .” You see, once Alma had poured out his barrel full of thoughts, feelings, and desires the Lord was able to pour back in by speaking to Him.
Getting to the bottom of the barrel is a great way to fight back against Satan’s anti-prayer tactics and to truly connect with God.
The second B is Bullseye prayers. This type of prayer is great for when you don’t feel like you have much to say, or if you’re short on time.
To say this type of prayer you need to picture your day or even your life as a target. Like an archer with a bow and arrow, your goal when you pray is to hit the bullseye every single time you shoot.
Unfortunately, we often pray by hitting the outermost ring of the target. We do this when we say things without even really thinking, “I’m so thankful for this day. I’m so thankful for my family. Please bless we’ll all have a good day.” Those types of phrases hit the target, but just barely.
So how do we hit the bullseye instead? Think about the things that feel MOST important to you right now. Any easy way to do this is to imagine that you haven’t talked with your best friend in a week. What would be the first thing you would want to tell them? Is it that your crush finally said hi to you? Or that your boss is driving you crazy? Is it that you’re always super bored and have no idea what to do with your time? Or is it that you got to a new level on your favorite video game?
Well it may seem counterintuitive, but you should start your prayer with THAT rather than going through the typical thankful fors and please blesses. Skip right over your typical, “I’m so thankful for this day” line and instead immediately hit the bullseye. For example you might say something like, “Dear Heavenly Father, my little sister is driving me insane. I want to love her, I really do, but she acts like such a baby and I just want to scream. What am I supposed to do???” And then keep going from there.
Do you see how that would help you avoid saying a routine, shallow, or mediocre prayer?!
And the goal is to do that over and over again! Hit the bullseye with the MOST important thing going on in your life, then go to the next most important thing, and then the next. Keep hitting the bullseye over and over and over. And once you find yourself leaving the bullseye and heading out to the edges where the “so thankful for this day’s” hang out, you need to end your prayer!
Your prayers might be short, but they will be oh so sweet to both you and Heavenly Father who will be so glad to finally really hear from you.
The third prayer is a Because prayer and this is perfect for younger kids, family prayers, or when you catch yourself in the middle of a routine prayer.
In a because prayer you simply explain every single statement you make. So when you say, “I’m so thankful for this day” you add the word “because” and then fill in the blank. This helps you stop and really think about what you’re saying.
A because prayer might sound like this, “I’m so thankful for this day because the weather was beautiful and I got to hang out outside.” Or “Please bless that we can have a good day because we have important things on our schedule and need Thy help.”
This is a simple twist to an everyday personal, family, or even mealtime prayers that helps them never become routine or shallow!
So how do you “beat back” Satan with your prayers? By fighting against the temptation to say a mediocre, shallow, or routine prayer and instead saying a Bottom of the Barrell, Bullseye, or Because prayer instead! Try one out today and see how powerful the B prayers are!