Prayer is a key factor in our walk with God. But, what is prayer?
Prayer is having a conversation with God; it is talking to Him as our Father. Prayer is the way that God has made for us to be able to communicate with Him. God is the only one that we should be praying to, no other person or thing is worthy of our prayer or has the power to answer our prayers.
How should we pray?
We should be honest and straightforward when talking with God. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and we do not need to put on a show for Him or try to make ourselves seem more important or holy. We should come before God humbly and without reserve, but also with confidence in who He is.
"The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth." Psalm 145:18
"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few." Ecclesiastes 5:2
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words." Matthew 6:7
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
What should we pray?
God wants us to trust Him and bring our needs to Him. We can know that God will answer our prayers according to His will. In prayer, we lift other's needs up and pray for the leaders of our countries. Prayer is not only a time to ask God for blessings or to work in a certain situation though, but is also a time of worship and thanksgiving.
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
"casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." 1 Timothy 2:1-2
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" Psalm 100:4
When should we pray?
We should pray in the good times and the bad times, in rejoicing and in sorrow. We should pray anytime throughout the day; God should constantly be on our minds, no matter what we are doing during our day, it should never be a burden to talk to God in prayer. Prayer is an ongoing conversation and one that we can have while washing dishes, waiting for a bus or out walking in nature.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!" 1 Chronicles 16:11
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise." James 5:13
Why do we pray?
We pray because God commands us to pray and it is the way that He has made for us to stay in relationship with Him. Prayer is not for God, it is for us. God does not NEED us to pray, if He did, He would not be God. It is through prayer, however, that we receive His power, that He gives us understanding and helps us in our weaknesses. Prayer is a way for God to give us what we need and for our will to align with His.
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5
As a final thought let's look at The Lord's Prayer, which is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray.
"Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:9-13