In the past few months, my family and I have prayed almost relentlessly for my granddaughter Addy who was born prematurely. It was a hard experience and I can tell you that many hard experiences is what my life seemed to specialize in.  Only this time it was harder.  Almost everyday was a harrowing experience and it took a toll on our health.

Thank God that she’s now better. There are still issues that a normal baby goes through but I believe the scary phase was over. In the last few months I did the most intensive praying ever in my whole existence. Dozens of people did the same thing (some of them unsolicited). Thank you to all who prayed!

How did I do the praying? There is a pattern which is outlined in the Book of Matthew. It is also known as the Lord’s Prayer, or simply “Our Father”.  I have prayed it dozens (hundreds?) of times in the past yet I only learned the pattern not too long ago from Pastor Doug’s sermon.

I only copy the pattern but I don’t repeatedly pray the Lord’s prayer itself. I try to vary my vocabulary as if I’m composing a love letter to my wife (but I still have ways to go in this area).

The first thing is praising and thanking God for the major things. Anyone’s list will be significantly different from mine but one common thing to be praiseful/thankful for is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy Kingdom Come – These phrases emphasize that we are praying to the only true God who resides in Heaven; Hallowed means Holy; His Kingdom will someday be here on Earth.

Thy Will Be Done – God’s will is to give us eternal life – His enemies have the opposite objective. But He gave us free will so we’re free to love Him back (or love His enemies).

Ask for forgiveness. For what? There’s quite a few things we do that offends God.  We can start with the Ten Commandments. Which ones did we break? Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t need another person to ask God for us to forgive our sins. We go straight to God for forgiveness, with a contrite heart. And yes, we must forgive our offenders too.

More gratitude for things that went right – for the day starting and ending productively with minor glitches. Also, gratitude for the things that went wrong – at least we now know how to fix those mistakes and avoid it in the future.  More thankfulness for life events, accomplishments, ideas, materials things – there’s literally hundreds of things to be thankful for.

I ask for strength, wisdom, guidance, protection and endurance. I even pray for my daily subsistence even though I know that He will provide – because I want Him to know that I’m totally dependent on His grace.

The prayer list next: Pray for spouse, children and grandkids (if you’re blessed with one or a dozen already). Your Family first before everyone else. Then your parents, siblings and their families. Then more families and friends and whoever else requested you to pray for them. I ask for them the same thing that I asked above: wisdom, guidance, protection, endurance. I also add enlightenment and a softening of the heart to accept the Truth.

Prayer lifts us up closer to God. Like I told my wife, my granddaughter drew me closer and made me love God even more.