Many people pray, some people even pray everyday. We may even say little prayers all during the day, but are we praying the right way? Are our prayers being answered? Are we even praying to the right person in the first place? There are many different ways to pray, and then there is the way Jesus Christ prayed. It worked for Him, He got results. So let's take a look at His example on how to pray and hopefully we can improve the way we pray.
I'd like to cover two things we need before we learn how to pray.
V6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Without faith it is impossible to please our Father. So if you don't have the faith in the first place, don't waste God's time and yours with your prayer. God will hear your prayer but don't expect Him to answer. Now don't get down on yourself if you feel your faith is not the greatest. We all don't have the faith of Abraham but if you believe what this verse says, you have faith. How do we diligently seek Him? We do that by studying His word, the Bible. Think of the Bible as our instruction manual for our life. We have questions? His word has the answers.
V6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
This is step two in our quest for a better prayer life. You had better believe that Christ was the only begotten Son of God. Also you need to have faith in His works and believe that He is with our Father now in heaven. A good way to show God that you believe in Christ is to ask for things in His name. Will get to what we should be asking for a bit later.
V5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
When you pray to God don't be like the hypocrites, which are play actors. They like to be seen praying to God in the church or out in the open, it makes them feel very 'religious'. Christianity is a reality not a religion. I'm not saying you should stop going to church. The prayer we are talking about here is a personal need that you are asking God for.
V6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
When you pray to our Father, go somewhere private so you can be alone with God. Then He will bless you openly.
V7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Don't get into the habit of saying the same thing over and over. God made us all unique and wants our love. If He wanted robots just to repeat the same thing again and again, He would have made them. He is are Father and loves us very much. Talk to Him, tell Him you love Him and thank Him for the blessings you do have. You don't have a lot of competition these days.
V8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Our Father created us so He already knows what we need before we ask Him. So you don't have to keep asking over and over which leaves you more time to tell Him that you love Him.
V9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father Which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
V10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
This prayer is the example Christ gave us. This does not mean to repeat this prayer over and over. If we do, then we have become like the hypocrites. We would be acting like a robot just repeating what we think He wants to hear. He is our Father, just talk to Him. A few things to keep in mind though when you do. Hallowed means to make Holy. Yes He is our Father but He is also still God, don't forget that. Notice also that the first three petitions are with respect to God, the next four are for us. We should always put God first in our prayer.
V11 Give us this day our daily bread.
As it is written in John 6:35 Jesus is the bread of life. This is not a prayer for food, it is for something more important than that. It is asking Jesus to come into your life. Try it, He can do wonders!
V12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
We must forgive those that have sinned against us if we want to be forgiven.
V32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
This does not mean that we should let murders, rapist and child molesters out of jail. They should not be in jail in the first place. God's law says they are to be killed. For more information on this, see our Capital Punishment Bible study. It makes God sick when someone claiming to be doing His will, prays to Him asking to spare their life. How can I say it makes Him sick? It makes Him sick because it is against His law and by letting these people back out on the streets, more of His children are going to get hurt. If you are a relative of some one this happened to or a victim yourself, ask God to be avenged. Don't do it yourself but ask Him to avenge you. This may sound out of place but so be it. The reason we have so much crime in this country (USA) is because we don't follow God's laws. You may say 'Where is your Christian love Dave?' It's called tuff love. I love God's children and don't want to see them get hurt. By following God's law and doing what He says with those kind of people, fewer will get hurt.
V13 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.
Ask our Father to help us not to be led astray by Satan's temptations. God is the Father of all of us and loves us very much, but hates our sins. He also has the power to deliver us from Satan's grip on our life's, we just need to ask for His help.
V14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
V15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
We need to forgive those that have sinned against us before God will forgive us. Just because we forgive someone that has sinned against us, it does not mean they are forgiven and 'off the hook' with God. Our Father keeps very good records and everyone will get what they have earned. If you are a victim and our legal system has failed you, don't avenge yourself, take your problem to God. When He says it's time, He will take care of it.
V19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Now that we had a look at how Jesus said we should pray, lets talk about what we should be asking for in our prayers. For that we'll go to the book of John.
V12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.
V13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
V14 If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.
Some think this means we can ask for any thing in His name and it will happen, that's not true. Jesus is talking about His works. How will asking for a fancy car help you do works like Jesus? What this is telling us is to ask for things that will help us do works like Jesus did. Ask for things that will help you do our Father's will and glorify Him, not ourselves. One good place to start is asking for understanding is His word, something I do every time I work on a Bible study.
V15 If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
If we love Jesus we need to keep His laws and follow the example that He set for us.
V16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever;
V17 Even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
As it says in verse 26 of this same chapter, the Comforter is the Holy Spirit. God will send us His Holy Spirit and we will never be alone. Not a bad deal, seeing how so many people feel the are alone now a days. Pray to God and ask Him for the Comforter in Jesus name and you will never be alone again. The Comforter will also help us to better understand our Father's Word, something that should be a desire of all Christians.
What if our prayers are not answered right away, then what should we do? Jesus gives us an example and teaches us what to do in Luke.
V5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
V6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
Many would travel at night because of the heat. Three loaves of bread was a big deal back then. They could not go to the local store that was open 24 hours a day and buy bread, they had to make it from scratch themselves.
V7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
It was late, he was sleeping and did not want to be bothered. Sometimes back then a whole family would sleep in one room in the clothes they wore that day in one big bed.
V8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
He was persistent in the way he kept asking and asking. He had perseverance and kept asking till he got what he wanted. Our Father wants us to have perseverance in our prayers to Him. If you want to do something that will glorify our Father and don't get it the first time, ask again. I believe that we should ask up to three times like Jesus and Paul did. If you asked three times and still did not get what you wanted, forget about it and don't worry about it. If God wants you to have it, you will get it. If you worry about it, that is a lack of faith and we can not please God without faith. Sometimes what we think is a good idea, might not be what God has planed for us.
V9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
V10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Ask-seek-knock is a figure of speech, it is an increase of emphasis. It means to keep on trying. The more you want it, the more zealous you will be trying to get it. Ask for understanding in God's word. Our Father's word grows in our mind and when you come across something you don't understand, that's when you have to start knocking. Ask to be given, not done. Don't start telling God what to do, He don't like that.
V11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
V12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
V13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Our Father loves us very much and wants to bless His children that are pleasing Him. He knows intuitively what we need but sometimes we need to ask first. A good place to start is asking for the Holy Spirit to be in your life and understanding in His word.
One more thing I'd like to cover and that is our attitude of others and ourselves. We need to have the right attitude when praying to our Father or our prayers will not be answered. Lets go to Luke.
V9 And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
We can't start thinking we are the greatest thing on earth. It is God that does the judging and says who is righteous or not. Christians are not second class people, so don't think that. Just don't think that just because your a Christian your better than everyone else.
V10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee was part of the religious group the Pharisees. A publican was a tax collector.
V11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
V12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
The Pharisee thought that he was really hot stuff. He thinks that he is better than everyone else and did not ask forgiveness for his sins. I guess he thought he was to good to sin. Also, God's law only calls for a fast once a year, see Leviticus 16:29-34 And he didn't have to tithe of everything he had, see Deuteronomy 14:22-23 The Pharisee was following the traditions of men and not the Law of God.
V13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
The publican standing by himself with his head down feeling sorry for his sins, asks God to be merciful to him. He admits that he is a sinner and felt bad for sinning, two things the Pharisee didn't do.
V14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
We must be humble before God. Just because we are Christians does not mean we are better than anyone else. We sin just like God's other children. When we pray to God we need to be humble and ask forgiveness for are sins. Don't bother saying your sorry for something your not, we can not fool God. As Christians let us humble ourselves before the Lord and let Him exalt who He chooses.
I hope that this Bible study will help you become closer to our Father and help you with your prayer life with Him. Remember to keep our Father first in your prayers and that His will be done. Ask for things that will glorify Him and not ourselves. Ask for forgiveness for your sins and forgive those that have sinned against you. Having a better prayer life will bring us closer to God and He will bless us for it.
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