How should we pray?
Scripture gives us clear direction as to how to pray. Its purpose, and methods for praying. The purpose of prayer is to glorify God. To strengthening our souls, for asking for everything and anything we need that is in line with God's will;
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." 1 John 5:14
The Bible tells us, that no matter whatever your problem is, to bring it to God, Give it up to His resolve. He does hear us, He will answer us. Our prayers should come from the heart. With earnest requests, recognizing that God is the only one who can answer them. God knows that we are in constant need of His love and guidance. Jesus continually prayed as an example to show us we are all dependant on His grace.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil 4:6
Jesus taught His people about prayer and it can be found in the Books of Mathew, chapter 6 and the book of Luke, chapter 11. This guidance is what we should go by when we pray today. The emphasis is always to pray to God, for our needs, forgiveness of sins and to honor Him. It is also important to remember praying to anyone else is not biblical. Jesus is our only intercessor to God. Jesus also cautioned us not to pray like the Pharisees. Their prayer was strictly for show amongst men. They loved to be seen in the streets shouting out their repetitious recitals;
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Mat. 6:5
Don't get me wrong, corporate prayer, praying in church as an example is very important and encouraged (Acts 2:42).
Aside from praying together in church, Jesus tells us we should go behind a closed door and Pray to God in private;
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Mat. 6:6
I personally think when one prays like this, asking for the things one needs that this is part of your personal relationship with God, and it's a wonderful experience. The feeling of satisfaction, to ask God to calm your spirit in time of anxiety or fear is unexplainable.
The chapters mentioned above gives us a model if you will, as to how to pray. First to pray with an earnest heart. Not to pray with 'vain' repetitions;
"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many
words." Mat. 6:7
This 'model' or method to be used in payer also tells us the necessary things we need to pray for. It is well known as the 'Lords Prayer'. I will list it here and give the reasons for each of these things; (Mat. 6:8-13)
"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
(above all Praise God, for everything)
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
(recognize that God's will be done. As it is in both the heavens and earth)
Give us this day our daily bread.
(ask God for all of your daily needs.)
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
(ask for forgiveness of our sins. Forgiving others is important as we ask for
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
(ask to keep us safe from Satan's doings)
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(give God recognition for His majesty)
Remember, God knows what we need, even before we ask for it. Also as it was once said, "Don't think that God's delays are His denials". God does not work on our time frame. If what you are asking is in line with His will, His promise is that He will hear you. Does this mean that EVERY time we pray, EVERYTHING we pray for will be answered? No, it does not. In fact the Bible tells us that some things are not answered ( James 4:3). Also, we must realize that sometimes no answer to our prayers is in fact an answer in itself. This may seem harsh by our standards, but God knows what is best for us even though we may 'think' otherwise.
As in everything, we must glorify God, especially in our prayers. Keep your prayers simple. Talk to God as you would a person. He is not a robot. He does not require certain words or order of words. Speak to Him as you would your best friend, confiding in Him about your needs and concerns, because He IS your friend. The only one who will not abandon you. If you don't know what to say, tell Him that. Ask Him to give you confidence to speak to Him freely. Or just thank Him for being there. For being Him. A wonderful saying from Gotthold Epharaim Lessing reads;
"A single grateful thought raised to Heaven is the most perfect prayer"