The Proper Prayer
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father 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 forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”
One of the greatest things we have as Christians is the power of prayer. But prayer is not some rambled utterance, but a well thought out, patterned encounter with God. Jesus was asked about prayer and in what we commonly refer to as the "Lord’s Prayer," Today we will look at the legs that form a firm foundation of prayer, using the "Lord’s Prayer" as a model.
The first thing to key in on is the worship and adoration of our Heavenly Father.
THE WORSHIP AND ADORATION OF THE FATHER
God desires the praise and adoration of his people. Your praise is an out flowing of a grateful heart. Let’s take a look at some passages that clarify this point.
15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
2 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The second part of the prayer is a time of thanksgiving.
A TIME OF THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is a time of being thankful for all that God has done. We need to take time to express gratitude. So often we ask for things, but never say thank you for all that has already been given. Let’s take a look at some scriptural examples of thanksgiving.
1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. 3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:
7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord And the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah
Next we see that we must confess our sins.
THE CONFESSION OF OUR SINS
Now you may be asking why don’t we confess our sins first. If you are aware of sin in your life, by all means immediately confess it. But what I want you to see here is that as you spend time in the presence of the Lord, His glory will make hidden and unconfessed sin visible, so that they can be dealt with. Think about it, the dust in your house is most visible in the radiance of a morning sunrise. It is important that we ask God to show us the unconfessed sin that stands in the way of His will for our lives. It is important to confess with a repentant heart. Don’t just give your sin a flipant "sorry", be truly broken and sorrowful for the sin in your life. It is also important that we be specific. So many times we want to make a "blanket" confession, but the problem with that is that we never truly come face to face with the sin in our lives. For some examples of confession let’s consider the following scriptures.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Now that we have taken time to praise and adore God for who He is, taken time to say thank you for all that He’s done, and confessed completely our sins then and only then can we truly begin to ask for supplication.
By having done these things prior to asking our focus is on God and not on us. Again, when you make requests be specific. Remember that no request is too great or too small. God wants to know what is on your mind. When you pray, pray like you mean it. Ask in faith, believing that the end result will be delivered. It has been said that the greatest reason prayers go unanswered is not what is asked for, but the quality of how it is asked for. For examples of supplication let’s consider these scriptures.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
26 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.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Now I want you to also consider some important external factors.
First of all be still,
I like to call this the shut up and listen principle.
I once read an account of a reporter’s interview with Mother Teresa. The reporter asked her, "When you pray, what do you say to God?" Mother Teresa replied, "Sometimes I don’t say anything I just listen."
Psalm 37:7 emphasizes this point as well.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
We must also consider our relationships with those around us.
Not only must our relationship with God be in good standing, but also with your brother. The following scriptures speak to this issue.
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;