4 Approaches to Prayer

“Prayer is the nearest approach to God.”

– William Law

Praying in Humility

The Bible says that God resists everyone who has pride and will extend His grace only to those who are humble (James 4:6), so we must come to God in deep reverence and respect but also in a state of great humility. In ancient times, if you didn’t bow before the king, you were dead. Should we not more so pay greater respects to the King of the universe? Most of the worship in the Old Testament was done by lying prostrate out of a deep, abiding respect and fear of God.

Praying in Brokenness

Want to get nearer to God? The Bible tells us that “the LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18) and that he “is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). If the nearest approach to God is prayer, it helps to come to Him in brokenness because He’s near the brokenhearted and saves those who are “crushed in spirit.” The quickest way up is down, lowering oneself in humility and brokenness before a Holy God, because God cannot fix what is first not broken.

Praying in Desperation

If you want to read a prayer of desperation, read Psalm 142, which David wrote when he was running for his life and hiding in a cave. He begged God to “attend to my cry, for I am brought very low. Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name” (Psalm 142:6-7). I doubt many of us will ever have to run for our lives, but we might be facing a mountain of debt, a ruined relationship, an enemy at work, or even a lost job. When times are desperate is just the time to pray.

Praying in Thanksgiving

We should never approach God without giving thanks. The will of God is actually that we would give Him thanks, and why shouldn’t we? We owe our eternity to God, and even though we cannot ever repay Him, we can do things for His glory in serving others. Paul wrote that we should “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20) is pleasing in His sight. But give thanks in all circumstances? Like in debt, joblessness, marital problems, and health issues? Paul writes that it’s the will of God to give thanks but to do it in all circumstances.


We should approach God in humility, in brokenness, in desperation, and with thanksgiving. I would not come to God without this mindset. It is God Who deserves to be worshiped, honored, praised, and glorified. If we believe that, then we are ready to approach God.