Lord, Teach us to Pray
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place,
when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him,
Lord, teach us to pray,
as John also taught his disciples.”
Prayer in a very general sense is simply an earnest and respectful request that may be directed toward God or man. Our prayers to God may (and often do) include requests, but prayer that pleases God includes other things also.
If you love someone, you will naturally want to talk with them. This makes the relationship grow. Besides that, it just makes both of you happy! It has been said that we talk to God through prayer, and that he speaks to us through his word. Good listening and honest speech is essential for a good relationship with God.
God has given us help in understanding how to talk with him. Let’s look at the 6th chapter of the book of Matthew:
“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.”
Have you ever heard someone pray in a manner that makes you think that they really couldn’t care less if God is listening, but only want to draw attention to themselves? True public prayer will not impress, but bless!
“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.”
This does not mean that public prayer is wrong (there are many examples of godly public prayer in the Bible), but most of the time, prayer is a very personal and private matter.
Verses 7 & 8
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
True prayer is not impersonal, ritualistic, or cold, but springs from the heart. It is simple and earnest. We do not tell God anything that he doesn’t already know, so there is no reason to be needlessly repetitious or long-winded.
“After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
Prayer is to be made to the “Father”. If you had a bad father, be thankful that you have a good Father in God. If you had a good father, understand that God is an even better one. Not only is prayer to be made to the Father but to our Father. If you are saved, you are a member of a family of many brothers and sisters, and your prayer should include them too. Considering that our Father is in heaven will help our prayers rise above only earthly things. Know that he is holy and be sure to glorify him.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Align your desires with his and express this to him.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
God knows we have earthly needs and he wants us to ask him to meet them.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Our greatest need is for God’s forgiveness. Forgiving others opens the door for God’s forgiveness to us. Unforgiveness hinders prayer and withholds God’s blessings from us. God has forgiven us freely. Let us do the same for others. This may be very difficult for us, but the more that we accept God’s forgiveness for us, the easier it becomes.
“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.”
We need God’s deliverance; not only from the evil in this world and from Satan, but from our own sinfulness. There is only One who has the power to do this. He wants to do this for us, and he will as we ask him. We should always glorify God in our prayer.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Pray without ceasing.
! Thessalonians 5:17
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
And when he had taken the book,
the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb,
having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours,
which are the prayers of saints.