Devotionals

A how to pray guide: 3 prayer questions answered quickly

In the background: women praying Overlay: A how to pray guideBackground: a woman praying Text overlay: Luke 11:1

In this quick guide about how to pray, we will be answering 3 questions about prayer. Before we can start planning on using ideas or strategies to grow in the discipline of prayer, we must read and understand what God has told us about prayer.

We will make constant reference to Matthew 6:5-15 and Matthew 7:7-12, so take a moment, grab your bible and read these passages.

What is prayer, and how is it done?

Jesus answered this question in what we know as the Sermon on the Mount, a prayer is a direct conversation with our Father. Before we go into the details of how to pray, let’s meditate on what this means.

We have the privilege of speaking with God, the creator of everything that exists; the Holy, Holy, Holy. We can approach Him and speak to Him as to a Father.

No matter what your earthly experience was with conversations with your father, we can approach God confidently, and we will receive an answer of mercy and grace.

In his teaching, Jesus left us a prayer model and gave us characteristics that should be part of our conversation.

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A how to pray guide: 3 prayer questions answered quickly 4

How to pray to God?

We should pray sincerely, not like the hypocrites (Matthew 6:5) who want to be seen by others. Prayer is a conversation with God and that must be our focus, not that others see us or know what we are doing so that they can have a better opinion of us.

This does not mean that there is no place for public or corporate prayer, but even in these circumstances our attitude must be God-centered and sincere.

Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians exhorts them, and us alike, to pray without ceasing. (5:17) This means that prayer should be a natural part of our life. Praying, talking to God about everything, should be a normal part of our day, not just for specific moments.

Which brings us to the fact that we do not need specific words for our prayer to be effective. Likewise, our position when praying is not the most important thing, the most important thing is our attitude when communicating with God.

While it is true that being alone or closing our eyes helps us concentrate and focus on prayer, our positions do not determine the value of our prayer.

The Prayer Model

Jesus left us an example of how to pray, we know it as The Lord’s Prayer. But this prayer is not to be simply memorized and repeated, since before teaching this example Jesus stressed that we should not make vain repetitions. (Matthew 6:7) So, how do we use The Lord’s Prayer, as an example of prayer?
The Lord’s Prayersummarizes how we should approach God in prayer, using our sincere words:

  • Recognizing who God is and worshiping him for who he is.
  • Longing for his will to be fulfilled in our lives and in this world.
  • Presenting our needs and worries
  • Asking for forgiveness of our sins and his power to forgive others
  • Begging for his protection in the midst of trials.

Will I get everything I ask for?

Jesus said that if we ask, we will receive. (Matthew 7:7) But the reality is that we do not receive the answers we expect to all our prayers.

We must consider the following, Jesus is not saying that God has the obligation to give us everything we ask for, nowhere in the Bible we see this idea.

On the contrary, it teaches us that God, as our good Heavenly Father, will give us the good gifts we need.

It is necessary that we consider what we are asking for, Jesus does not refer to the things that I may fancy, but to the real needs that we have. Starting with spiritual needs.

In the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has been exhorting us to yearn for things above, to lay up treasures in heaven, to serve God with all our being.

James (4:3) warns us that we do not receive because we ask for bad purposes, to spend on our pleasures.

What is praying with faith?

We hear many people say (and even accuse us of) that if we do not receive the answer to our prayer that we were expecting, it is because of a lack of faith.

Praying with faith is having that sincere conversation with God, full of confidence in who God is. By praying with this confidence, we know that no matter our need and our expectation, God will respond according to what we really need and that is within his will.

Well, we rest in the fact that he does not lie, that he keeps his promises, that he is a good Father.
I invite you to read and meditate on Hebrews 11, for Biblical examples of faith in action.

We will see examples of those who received their response “out of time”; those who did not see the promised land, but received entrance to the heavenly city; those who achieved victory on this earth and even those who died by the edge of the sword.

We learn that praying with faith is asking God with confidence, knowing that everything will work for the best for us, the Children of God, according to His will. (Romans 8:28)

Conclusion

What did Jesus teach us about prayer? Prayer is a direct conversation with God, which must be sincere and without vain repetitions. 

By which we remember and acknowledge who God is, we ask for forgiveness and the power to forgive and to resist temptation. 

In addition, we present our needs, with the faith (confidence) that our Heavenly Father will respond according to his will.

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