Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Pray

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been discussing prayer and how it has been the primary catalyst that has spawned every revival throughout history. I have also touched on the power of prayer in the life of the believer.

This week, I wanted to spend some time discussing how to pray or what we should be saying to God when we are alone in our prayer closet. Do not feel embarrassed or ashamed if you have come to this blog without a good understanding of how to pray. Many have asked this same question, including the apostles in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6. Jesus responded by giving them the Lord’s Prayer, which is also known as the “Our Father.”

This prayer that Jesus shared was not meant to be a ritualistic saying that would be recited verbatim daily to God but was given as the pattern for our prayer life. God Himself has said that He is not interested in the vain repetition of words (Matthew 6:7) but in our heart attitude toward Him when we pray.

John MacArthur has a wonderful series of messages on the Lord’s Prayer in which he breaks down the prayer line by line and explains how to incorporate each wonderful truth into your prayer life. I would highly recommend you spend some time reading these messages so you can better understand how the Lord Himself told us to approach the throne room of God.

I also wanted to mention that prayer by nature is designed to bring us into the presence of the Living God that we may be transformed by Him. Prayer should never be approached with the thought that God is some type of sugar daddy waiting to give us every want and desire as some so called Christian movements would have you to believe.

Even a cursory reading of the Bible will reveal that when God’s people prayed, they most often reminded God of His words and promises to His people. Very rarely do you find a man or woman of God in the Bible praying anything that was not somehow related to God's Word or nature. And this is why the relationship between prayer and God’s Word is so critical. The Word of God enables us to know the mind of God which then transforms our prayers into petitions that are in accordance with His will.

I have often thought of how many prayers God hears on a daily basis from unbelievers asking for protection, healing, finances, etc. While God does answer these requests at times from non-believers, he is not obligated to answer them. He is, however, obligated by His very Word to answer believers when they pray.

It is God Himself who has set up the institution of prayer. It is Him who commands us to pray unceasingly, fervently, and earnestly for all things. E.M. Bounds states in his book, The Weapon of Prayer, “Prayer puts God’s work in His hands, and keeps it there. It looks to Him constantly and depends on Him implicitly to further His own cause. Prayer is but faith resting in, acting with, and leaning on and obeying God. This is why God loves it so well, why He puts all power into its hands, and why He so highly esteems men of prayer.”

I truly believe the way to have a more fruitful prayer life is to immerse yourself in the Word of God. The two just cannot be divorced from each other. If you are trying to figure out where to begin, I would suggest you start with the Book of Psalms which is found in the Old Testament. The Psalms are songs and prayers to God. I often pray them myself to God when I find that I do not have any words of my own. Psalms 23 and 91 are wonderful Psalms that speak of God’s protection and sovereignty.

You could also read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John found at the beginning of the New Testament) if you want to know Jesus’ words so you can remember and recall them when you are praying. The more you know God’s Word, the more you will be able to effectively pray for God’s will in all things.

Please feel free to comment to let me know how your prayer life is progressing. I hope and pray that these last few blogs on prayer have been a blessing.

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