You'll never make right choices without prayer. Regular prayer. Real prayer.
Wait! Don't panic. You may think prayer is a real drag. You may think it's hard or boring. Your understanding of prayer may come from your childhood or from listening to grown-ups talk to God in thee's and thou's or six-syllable theological words you never heard of.
Relax. Prayer is simply talking to God about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. God really does understand modern English (even the bizarre language spoken by your brother or sister). You can be totally confident that God hears you when you pray. In fact, God eagerly waits for you to come to him in prayer. You are his child, and he values every minute you spend with him!
Why is prayer so great?
1. Prayer helps you to focus on God. It helps you get to know him better. The psalmist said, "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always" (Psalm 105:4, NIV). When you pray, you "unplug" your mind from the television and CD player and "plug in" to God.
2. Prayer is intimacy with God. When you pray, you discover what it means to be intimate with God. The Bible says that when Moses entered the tabernacle, "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend" (Exodus 33:11, NIV). That is what happens in prayer. You become friends with God. He becomes a deep, intimate, personal friend who loves you unconditionally.
3. Prayer is a vital weapon in making right choices. If you want to stop lying, pray; praying will add God's power to your desire. If you want to be more loving toward your brother, pray; that will add God's help to your good intentions. If you need more patience, more compassion, or more self-control, pray; prayer will add God's energy to your efforts.
When we pray, God takes action! So pray. Pray for yourself. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. And watch God work.
How often do you pray (not counting grace at meals)? How often do you think you should pray? When is a good time for you to pray every day? (Morning? After school? Bedtime?) How long do you plan to pray every day? (Five minutes? Ten minutes? Fifteen? More?) Tell someone else about your commitment to pray.
Make a list of four or five kinds of right choices you need to make more often or more consistently (like honesty, compassion, faithfulness, fairness, and so on). Pray for at least one item every day, asking God to help you develop that virtue.