How should we pray?

We have looked at Who should pray, To whom should we pray, To Whom Should We NOT Pray , For What Should We Pray, Where should we pray, and Why should we pray. Now we will look at HOW we should pray, as part of a series on Prayer. All scripture references come from the NIV, unless otherwise stated.

So, how should we pray?

Pray with a spirit of humbleness.

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Jesus taught us how to pray, giving prayer that could be used ‘as is’ or as a pattern. Notice the pattern: recognizing and praising God (The Father), asking GOD’s will be done, asking for what we need, asking forgiveness, asking for guidance and protection.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

9“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10‘Your kingdom come Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]

Jesus taught us to persist in prayer

Luke 11:8-10 (NASB)

8“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.  9“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

Luke 18:1-8

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ “

6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Jesus taught to pray without trying to get others to think well of you.

Mt 6:5-6

5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Be righteous and upright and pray earnestly

James 5:16-18

16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

We should have a spirit of obedience and do what pleases God when we pray.

1 John 3:21-22

21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

We should pray with a spirit of forgiveness.

Mark 11:25

25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Be self-controlled and clear minded so you can pray

1 Peter 4:7

7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

We should pray continually

1 Thessalonians 5:17

17pray continually

We should pray in the Spirit

Rom 8:26-27

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Ephesians 6:18

18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

We should pray according to God’s will

1 John 5:14

14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Jesus said to ask in His name. This is much more than simply reciting a phrase at the end of a prayer. This is asking for something that Jesus would ask for – when we ask in Christ’s name, we are asking for something He would have asked for. When I was a child, my dad had credit at the corner store and I could go in and get a loaf of bread and ask them to put it on his tab. I was buying something my dad would have me buy. But if I tried to get candy, they would not put it on his tab, because they knew my dad would never have bought such a thing. So, asking in the name of God the Son means you are walking close enough to Him to know what HE would have asked for and asking for THAT – not necessarily what you would want.

John 16:23

23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

Jesus taught us to ask in faith. Without faith, prayer is useless. We must ask for what God wants us to ask for, but we must do so knowing God can and will give it to us, should it be in His will. And we must walk close enough to God to know what is His will.

Matthew 21:21-22

21Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

We have an example of prayer from Jesus, where the pattern of prayer is recognizing and praising God, asking GOD’s will be done, asking for what we need, asking forgiveness, asking for guidance and protection. We must pray with a spirit of humbleness and forgiveness. We must persist in prayer, praying with a clear mind and being self-controlled. We must pray in the Spirit, asking for what GOD would have us ask for, what is in HIS will, and in the name of Christ.


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