What is it?
There are different things that we can do in prayer and they should normally be in the following order.
- Praise: Thank God for His greatness (many of the prayers in the Bible start this way, e.g., 1 Kgs. 8. 23; Isa. 37.16)
- Repentance: confess known sin and shortcomings (Ps. 66.18)
- Appreciation: give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy (1 Thess. 5.18) and for answered prayer
- Yielding: the genuine surrender of our own will, including how and when God will answer
- Everybody else: pray for others - the lost, those in authority, those that are sick or persecuted, fellow-saints (1 Tim. 2. 1-4; Philem. 1. 4; Heb. 13. 3)
- Requests for ourselves: these should be in accordance with His will (John 16. 23, 24; Col. 3.17)
Why do it?
- It is a direct divine command, Luke 11. 9
- The Lord Jesus is our great example (e.g., John chapter 17)
- Great spiritual characters have been characterized by prayer
- We should want to spend time speaking with our greatest friend
- Prayer is an expression of faith, and thereby honours God
- Because even when words are difficult, the Lord understands, Rom. 8. 26
How to do it?
- Privately: Find somewhere quiet, away from distractions. Matthew chapter 6 verse 6 includes being away from our computer, mobile phone, etc!
- Regularly: At ‘routine’ times, set aside in a disciplined way for that purpose (e.g., Daniel) such as morning/evening, mealtimes
- Always: use ‘free moments’ to pray about whatever you are doing (1 Thess. 5. 17)
- Yourself: use your own words not those in books, or what you think others would expect you to say
- Earnestly: Jas. 5.17
- Repeatedly: persistent without empty repetition, Luke 11. 9
- A notebook can list things to pray about and record how God answered
- Stay awake! Kneeling is good for reverence or standing if necessary, Matt. 26. 41
- Praying out loud may help you when praying but if doing this be aware that Matthew chapter 6 verse 6 teaches that you are praying to your Father in secret and that this matter is to be behind closed doors and between you and God
- The Lord reads our heart – sincerity and purity matter more than oratory, Luke 18. 9-14