As there is a right way to talk even so there is a right way to pray.Pray is talking to and with God. It is a means of showing our submission and our dependence on God.Prayer is a means of showing to whom belong the power and the glory. For you belong the Kingdom,the power and the glory.(Matt 6:13)When we pray we show that God is the owner and the source of the kingdom, power and glory.
Praying is an act and an art of allowing the will of God to be done on the earth.An art is a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice. An art is a work produced by human creative skill and imagination. Prayer is an art , it is a practice.
Our consistency and persistence in praying will produce an art of prayer.We should prayer to the point that our prayer becomes a skill,something that has become part of us.
Prayer is an act,it is an action. Prayer is a deed hence it is rewarded. (Matt 6:6) Since it is an act or a deed ,the manner we do it influences the kind of reward we receive.Prayer involves speaking or talking to God. Prayer is about God’s will being done on earth.
Prayer is about God’s name being honoured. It is about being God-centered not self-centred.Prayer is an ‘exchange of wills’.
Now let us talk about the pillars or principles governing prayer.
When we pray:Prayer is not an “if activity” it is a “when activity”. It should be part of our lifestyle. Everyone prays,every religion prays .Prayer simply means to wish or to desire or to beg or ask. As humans we have wishes and desire.But for believers we should not only pray if we desire something but all the time.
We are to pray without ceasing. We are to pray any time and at all times.We are to seek the will of God at all times,for that is the main purpose of prayer:to see God’s will being done in our lives.
Jesus prayed in the early hours of the day,in the day and in the evening . We are to pray at all time and any time. There is no restriction. We are to pray before an activity and after an activity. We are to pray even when we are in agony.(Luke 22:44)
To whom we pray to: We are to pray to the Father. The person we pray to shows the person you are dependent on. Prayer is showing our dependence on God. Since we are praying to the Father who is our Source,we should not be in doubt because He is the source of everything.
We are to pray to the Father .All the prayers in the NT were address toward the Father.All our prayer should be address toward God the Father. In Jesus’ teaching about prayer,he said Our Father,in His priestly prayer He addressed it to the Father (John 17). We are to honour the name of the Lord in our prayer.
How we pray: The manner we pray is very important,because it is that which differentiate us.All people pray but how each one prays differ. The Lord said we are not to pray like the hypocrite and the heathen.
How then do the hypocrites prays?
They love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets that they may be seen of men.(Matt 6:5)
Noticed it saids they love to pray. Loving to pray is not bad but the motive and the manner we show our love for prayer is what makes it a wrong way of prayer.
They love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets. It is not only in the corners of the streets that we can pray in order to be seen by men but even also in the synagogues(the churches,the gatherings of the believers). The fact that we are in a gathering of the believers or church does not insulate us from praying to be seen by men.
A hypocrite means an actor, a stager,one who is pretending to be what he is not. The word hypocrite has the same meaning as movie actors who can play various roles which they are not in real life.
Our prayer should not be a show,it should not be insincere,it should not be an ‘acting’ but an action. (Matt 23:14)We should not pray because we want to be seen by men that we pray. We should be ourselves when we pray, that is sincere secret prayer.
How then do the heathen pray?
The heathen pray using vain repetitions. The word heathen(ethnikos) means Gentiles, Nations, Pagans, multitudes, adapted to the customs of the people. We are not to pray in a manner that has been adapted to the customs of the people -which is using vain repetitions.
We are not to pray using vain repetitions, thinking that God will hear us because of our much speaking. We are to pray precisely because we are praying to the Father who knows beforehand what things we need.(Matt 6:8)
Noticed it is vain repetitions not repetitions, that is ,we can repeat our prayer even with the same words(Mat 26:44) but it should not be because we think God will here us for our much speaking.
Where we pray:We are to pray in secrecy. Secrecy means praying to be seen by God not men. Praying in secret means going into your closet,where no one is and pouring out your heart to God. Prayer should be sincere,without pretence. Jesus, most often will isolate himself into the garden or a solitary place to pray.(Matt 14:23,Luke 5:16) We are also to pray in such manner. Praying in secret means that we do not want to show off to men that we pray. That means that even if you are alone in a place you should not pray in such a manner that men may see you pray.
Why we pray: Why do we pray,what is our motive behind our prayer?We are to pray because we want to show our dependence on God. We want to see the will of God done on earth. We pray because we want to let the name of the Lord be honoured and glorified. Prayer is a means of being God-centered. Prayer is a means of showing our submission and dependence on God. Prayer is a means of being kept from temptation(Mat 26:41)A praying believer will not sin and a sinning believer will not pray.
What we pray about: Our perception about prayer influences how we pray and what we pray about. We are to pray that the will of God be done on earth. We are to pray for things that honours God and the Name of the Lord. Notices that in the pattern of the Lord’s prayer, it was our Father,our daily,our debts. It was not my daily bread but our daily bread. We are to make request for God’s desires and our desires,what we need(Matt 6:8).
In prayer we can ask for whatever we desire(Matt 21:22,Mark 11:23). We are to talk about anything we desire. We can pray about past things,present things and future things(Matt 24:20)
Prayer is a form of fellowship hence we can discuss and communicate about anything.Prayer is about exchange of wills therefore any of our wills can be discussed and talked about.
What we pray about differs based on our need and the timing.Many of the types of prayer is due to what we are praying about. If we are praying solely for others it is intercessory prayer. Jesus prayed that the faith of Peter fails will not fail,that is a form of intercession.(Luk22:32)
If we are praying to thank God,it is thanksgiving prayer or prayer of thanksgiving.
Who we pray about and for:We are to pray for ourselves and others. Our prayer should not be self-centred but God-centered. It should not be only about me and I but also we, them and others. We are to pray for our enemies and those who despite-fully use and persecute us.(Matt 5:44)
We should know that God is more willing to answer our prayers. He is our Father and he knows and cares about us hence he will always grant us what is good. His will is always good for us. We should not have the mentality that since prayer is an ‘exchange of wills’ ,God will not grant us what we desire. A father knows how to give good gifts to his children. (Luke 11:11-13).
We are to pray sincerely,earnestly and persistently to the Father with faith.
God bless you