During my journey with God, I’ve spent time talking with Him during the day—usually in conjunction with something else I was doing—like driving, solving problems at work or during my devotional time. However, I’d never set aside time for the specific purpose of practicing prayer. In the past two days, God has awakened me for my devotional time at 0230 which left my usual time slot of 0600 open to do something else. He led me to set aside that time to “practice” praying. It never occurred to me that I needed to practice praying until I began studying the model prayer. We practice other skills we wish to improve upon—so why not prayer? If we relegate our prayers to reciting our prayer list, we’ve missed MOST of the components of prayer. In addition to our prayer list of requests, The Lord’s Prayer includes –praising God for Who He is; praying to know His will; forgiving and being forgiven; deliverance from temptation and evil; etc. Not only have I NOT routinely covered all of these components when I pray, I don’t even really know what they all mean. Jesus gave us the model for a good reason and we should commit to understand and practice it: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:9-13) If we intentionally set aside time to practice praying, God will expand our ability to communicate with Him. He teaches us how to “hallow His name” and “know His will;” He reminds us of the sins we need to forgive and to be forgiven for; He reveals our areas of weakness and shows us how prepare to avoid them, etc. He teaches us much like a basketball coach teaches a player the mechanics of offensive and defensive plays; thus, when we are in the heat of the game, the plays become second nature. We shouldn’t learn to pray only in the heat of the game; we need to learn from The Coach BEFORE the game—we need to PRACTICE praying!