What Do I Say
Start by addressing God directly in a way that acknowledges the uniqueness of who He is.
People will say things like, Father God, Heavenly Father or Almighty God. How you choose to address Him will remind you and anyone you might be praying with about who you are talking to and what He represents in your life.
Obedience Is Not Optional
Flip another page and a critical aspect of prayer is found in the story of Noah. Genesis 6 tells of Gods instructions to Noah concerning how to build the ark.
Noahs response can be summed up in three words. Thus Noah did. Instead of words, Noah replied with action. When God gives us instructions, the only appropriate response is obedience. Words are optional.
We see that same obedience with Elijah when He confronted King Ahab. God directed the prophet to speak a hard message of impending drought. Elijah spoke the words God gave him then stepped out of the way until he received another assignment.
He was in hiding for more than three years as he waited for God to do what Hed said He would do. Elijah literally risked his life to obey and suffered some hard years as a result but, when the victory came and the nation turned back to God, it was worth it.
Dont Pray Without Listening To Gods Voice
Prayer is supposed to be a time when we listen to God, but often our prayers are one-sided.
When youre in need of strength, remember that God is the number one healer and can guide you in endless ways. If your heart and life are centered on God, His Word and His Holy Spirit, you can rest assured that He will transform you in ways that you couldnt even imagine.
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Examples Of Prayer In Scripture
As we read stories about how people in the Bible prayed, we can be reminded that God longs for us to pray to Him so that He may answer us.
Abrahams Prayer for Sodom & Gomorrah
The story of Abraham pleading on behalf of Sodom takes place in Genesis 18:16-33. Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities filled with wickedness, sexual immorality: rape, homosexuality, and premarital intercourse. These people lived without any regard for the law.
On the other hand, Abraham was a man of God, therefore, God told him about his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their exceedingly grave sins.
Abraham replied with a request for mercy, he said, Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
Far be it from you to do such a thingto kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Abraham asks God another question, would he destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if he found 50 righteous people within the cities?
Graciously, God says for the sake of 50 righteous people, he would spare the cities. But, Abraham was not done with his request for mercy, he goes on to ask what if were 45 people, then 40, what about 30, and all the way down to ten people. Again, God declares he would not destroy the city if ten righteous people can be found.
God did not find ten people within Sodom and Gomorrah who were righteous. Genesis 19:23 says, Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah.
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Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether youre single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.
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Jewish Pattern In The First Century Ad
It is tempting to view the Biblical commands to pray day and night hyperbolically and not literally. Many casually read the passages enjoining night and day prayer assuming that the passages mean simply, you should pray a lot and leaving to each person in their own context to determine how much that should be. However, it is important to interpret Scripture within its historical context. The question to be answered is, What would the original hearers/readers have understood from these passages? Given the historical context and practices, they would have definitely understood the passages to mean that every Christian should pray at two set times per day, at a minimum.
We know from the Mishnah and the Talmud that the pattern of devout Jews was to pray two or three set times per day during the first century A.D. Professor of Liturgy at Notre Dame University, Paul F. Bradshaw, provides historical context in his book, Daily Prayer in the Early Church: A Study of the Origin and Early Development of the Divine Office:
Although it is not strictly a prayer but rather a creed, the recitation of the Shema is well attested as the fundamental daily devotion of Jews in the first century, both in Palestine and in the Diaspora. The custom of reciting it twice a day, when you lie down and when you rise , according to the Mishnah in the morning between dawn and sunrise and in the evening after sunset, is first mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas
How To Pray To God According To The Bible
Prayer is simply communicating with God. When one gets born again, they enter into a relationship with God where God becomes their Father, and they are the sons and daughters of God. Just as in a normal family relationship there is a great need for communication. We dont just pray to God because it is a privilege that we have been given, but we pray because we need to have effective communication with God. This means that the beauty of prayer is when it is answered. The bible gives us different ways to pray to God so that our prayers should be effective.
Here are some ways you can pray to God.
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You Should Pray Scripture Because It Keeps Your Prayers In Scriptural Proportion
One of the many reasons that expository preaching is wise is that it systematically explains and heralds Scripture proportionally. Topical preachers tend to talk about the same few issues over and over and over. Expositional preachers are forced to talk about a rich variety of issues in scriptural proportion, namely, every time the text addresses various issues.
Similarly, we may tend to pray about the same few issues over and over and over. But if we pray Scripture as we read through the Bible, that will force us to pray about a rich variety of issues in scriptural proportion.
Does The Bible Say How Much I Should Pray
Daniel wasn’t an exception, but an example. Learn why we should literally follow the Lord’s instruction to pray day and night.
You were designed to live in regular, on-going fellowship with your Creator and Lord. Without that continuous and deepening bond, you will never fulfill the destiny God has planned for you, and you will never reach your full potential for all that He has you on earth to be and do. The maintenance of your relationship with God takes active, purposeful thought, self-discipline, and intentionality in order to succeed. Almost every relationship in your life takes focus and initiative if it is to succeed, and your walk with God is no different.
God loves you and wants you to succeed in your walk with Him and your life more generally. He knows even better than you do your need for His abiding influence and presence. So that you would know how to live, He has made plain in the Scriptures how you are to commune with Him on a daily basis. The pattern He sets forward in the Scriptures and which has been practiced by many through the years is that of praying and reading the Bible two or three set times per day, either on your own or while gathered with fellow Christians. Unfortunately, this is not the pattern of the vast majority of Christians in the West and the West is suffering for it. When Christians do not have a solid, continuous walk with the Lord, all of society suffers for it.
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Praying In The Spirit
The scripture says that the Spirit of God searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us. The reason that we received the Spirit of God was for Him to reveal to us the things that have been freely given to us. .
When we choose to pray under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He will guide us on when to pray and what to pray for. The spirit of God will enable us to pray according to the will of God and therefore be confident of answered prayers. Even in our weakness, the Spirit of God will give us the strength to move on. He will intercede on our behalf.
I have a detailed article on Who is the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
The Bible is very specific about how to pray to God. The most important thing is that we take action and start praying. Remember God is not religion is a relationship, in any relationship communication is key. So pray up!
If you are interested in learning more about prayer and how to get results from it, check out this book from one of my favorites authors Charles F. Stanley.
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Tip : Read The Bible And Pray Over Verses
Have you ever had a one-sided conversation with someone who talked continually without listening to you? The conversation didnt go very far, did it? We do the same thing to God when we pray without reading the Bible, His eternal letter of love and wisdom to each one of us on earth. Reading Scripture helps us get to know God. It brings life to our prayers.
If you want to have a more effective conversation with God, read Scripture. Let Davids words in the Psalms enliven your prayers. Stop in the Gospels to pray over a verse that strikes you, asking God to work that truth into your heart. Let the words of Pauls letters give you specific prayer requests for yourself and the people you love.
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You Should Pray Scripture Because Jesus Did
I need to develop this further because its not always logical to argue that we should do something merely because Jesus did. Jesus did a lot of things that we cant dolike walk on water and forgive people of their sins. And Jesus did some things that we shouldnt dolike die on the cross to satisfy Gods righteous wrath against sinners. But Jesus did many things that we should imitate, and praying Scripture is one of them.
Both the Gospel according to Matthew and Mark record that Jesus prayed this to the Father when he was dying on the cross: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? . That quotes the first line of Ps 22.
We have to be careful here because Jesus fulfills Scripture in a way that we dont. Jesus is unique.2 My point is that Jesus prayed Scripture. For him to do that, he had to read Scripture, correctly understand Scripture, meditate on Scripture, and then apply Scripture to his specific situation. We dont typologically fulfill Scripture in the same way that Jesus does, but we can and should pray Scripture appropriately with reference to our contexts. For example, we can appropriate God-breathed prayers in Scripture as they match our own circumstances. Gods people have been doing that with the Psalms for thousands of years.
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The Parable Of The Pharisee And The Tax Collector
In Luke 18, the doctor-turned-disciple recorded a story Jesus told about two men who both prayed to God, and how they were each received by the Father.
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.
This parable is a good way to measure our hearts as we come to God in prayer. Ask yourself, am I the Pharisee or a tax collector? Its kind of hard to determine who the good guy is in this scenario before Jesus explains Gods point of view. Prior to Jesus admonitions against the religiosity perpetuated by the Pharisees, they were the respected church leaders. They were the holy men of that day. The tax collectors were hated by most. Right off the bat, one would assume that Jesus would denounce the later, as the sinner. And he would, if it were not for what the taxman did inside the temple.
The parables lesson is found in what these two men do in response to Gods presence. The proud church leader attempts to validate his own righteousness in his prayer. He judges his neighbor all while spouting his good deeds, as if thats going to guarantee him some Brownie points with God. The tax collector approaches his prayer in humility. With no self-righteous bone in his body, he asks God to show him mercy.
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The Best Times To Pray
Scripture does not definitively state what the best times to pray are or how much we should do it. The Bible, however, does record the habits of many righteous people.
For example, the prophet Daniel made it a habit to pray thrice daily . King David also did this and did so in the morning, noon and in the evening . Sometimes he would awake and talk to God several hours before sunrise , a practice that was duplicated by the Lord .
David, at times, especially when he felt the trials and troubles of life were pressing hard against him, cried out to the Lord both during the day and night . Jesus took time to commune with God all night before he selected twelve men to follow him and offered supplications to the Father in the night he was arrested .
The early church was devoted to pray on a regular basis . The apostle Paul and Silas did so at midnight while they were together in a Philippian jail cell . Paul stated he never failed, whether during the night or day, to remember his faithful friend Timothy in all his prayers .
Paul regularly encouraged others to talk, as much as they could, with the Eternal . In fact, Paul goes so far as to call upon believers to “pray unceasingly” . Clearly, we ought to communicate with our Maker as many times as we can.
Keys To A More Powerful Prayer Life In 2022
I love Luke 5:16 because it shows that just like you and me, Jesus needed a break from the demands of his busy life to recharge his batteries and spend time with his Heavenly Father. The life of Christ is intended to give us examples we can follow and learn from. So, even though he was God incarnate, Jesus didnt draw on his superpowers as the Son of God when it came to facing lifes challenges. Instead, when he was exhausted or burdened or in need of spiritual refreshment, he would slip away to pray plugging into the power, perception, and purpose that can only be found in Gods presence.
But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.Luke 5:16, AMP
Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us, and looking ahead at 2022, I believe it has never been more important for Gods people to be on our knees. But knowing how to pray is not always easy. Jesus disciples felt the same confusion. They were familiar with the oft-repeated prayers of the Torah. But Jesus prayed with a kind of authority and power they had never seen before as though God was listening! So when they came to Jesus, as told in Matthew 6, they didnt say, Teach us another prayer. They said, Lord, teach us to pray.
Here are eight keys that have helped me develop a more powerful and effective prayer life. I hope they will encourage you to make 2022 a year of prayer.
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