The Basics of Prayer
You can listen to this episode in the archive section of our PODCAST page.
Welcome to episode #2 of our Basic Training series where we show you the simplest and most necessary concepts every new believer needs to understand in order to grow. Last week we kicked off the series with a glossary of Christian terms so that when you’re around other Christians you won’t feel like they’re speaking another language. This week we’re talking all about our lifeline access to God Himself: prayer. Remember, as we talk about these things, there are people who don’t know what propitiation is. Let’s start by reading from Matthew chapter 6:5-8 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
What prayer is not
Mindless repetition (e.g. praying the “Our Father” prayer 7 times, or babbling the same repetitive thing over and over to conjure up “prayerful emotions”)
Just to get stuff
Prayer is not some sort of incantation to manipulate God into doing something for you.
Prayer is not some sort of means to control God.
Many cults and religions operate on the basis that if they perform certain rituals that the god they are summoning must follow through with their request.
Many supposed “christian” groups do the same thing and they don’t realize it: Catholics, some Pentecostal groups who believe that if they do certain things that God must hold up His end of the deal, “name it and claim it” kind of stuff.
Any group that teaches some form of “people needing to pray a certain prayer and God will hold up His end of the deal and respond a certain way”, and who teach this either in addition to or in place of the simple Biblical teaching of “God is sovereign, God is in control, we are not, and He can do whatever He pleases to do”, MUST BE AVOIDED!
Do not pray to make smurfs pink. They are blue for a reason.
What prayer is
Conversation and communion with God
Chance to personally commune with God, not just communicate.
Why is prayer important? Why do we do it?
It it pleasing to God
God inhabits the praises of His people
We need it!
Does not align God's will with ours. It aligns our will with God's.
We can make God get us to look really good and young.
We can get a Mercedes or a Lotus or Vet, or a Jet worth tens of million dollars.
We can get God to make us rich.
How do we pray? (Matthew 6:9-13) “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.”
Start by spending some time acknowledging God for who He is and how awesome He is. Praise Him for His awesome works and amazing love and grace. This gives you a correct perspective of God and on other things.
Thank God for everything. Express your genuine gratitude to Him for His incomparable goodness toward us.
Confess your sins. If you don’t think you’ve sinned, ask God to show you where you did and He’ll show you.
Meditate on the fate of the ungodly and ask God to reach them.
At this point, ask God for whatever you need.
Tell God your plans and ask Him to help you honor Him in them.
Morning before your day gets rolling
During the day, throughout the day, as things happen
Evening, before you settle down for bed
Praying through Scripture or along with reading the Bible
Shut off your phone, radio, tv, computer, or ANYTHING that could distract you
What about when it seems like our prayers “are not being answered”?
God always answers prayer, but it’s not always the answer we want. Yes, No, Wait
There are things that can hinder our prayers
Unforgiveness and grudges
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Not settling issues that other people have with you
May not necessarily hinder our prayers, but Jesus told us in Matt 5:23-24 “...if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
Being harsh and unloving toward our spouses
1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”