I have problems when I am asked to pray. It is a comfort issue. I do not always
You question reminds me of the following story. It was a very hot day, and the house was full of guests, and things were not going too well. Finally, the mother got everyone seated for dinner and asked her seven-year-old daughter to say grace. “But mother,” said her daughter, “I do not know what to say.” “Yes you do,” said her mother, “just pray the last prayer you heard me use.” Obediently, the child bowed her head and hesitantly said, “Oh, Lord, why did I invite these people on such a hot day?” Wow, was that mother surprised! Her daughter only wanted to know what to say. So, how should we pray? Here are some suggestions.
Follow the “Lord’s Prayer”
Jesus’ disciples wanted to know how to pray too! Jesus helped them by giving them an example of a prayer they should use.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. (NASB) Matt. 6:9-13
You do not need to memorize and repeat this prayer. Jesus gave this prayer as an example of the types of things we should request. Jesus start with a focus on God before we ask anything for ourselves.
Focus On God
Jesus teaches us to speak to God the Father and to ask that He be recognized as being holy. Many people do not see God as holy but as an old, cosmic kill joy who is out of touch with the world. Or, they have created a God that they want – one who “understands them” and sees them as “good people.” But the God of the Bible who is angry with sin and will send sinners to hell is also called holy. Jesus then tells us to ask that God’s will be done on this earth.
Focus On Yourself
Jesus then encouraged His disciples to ask that God meet their daily needs. This is amazing, since God has promised to meet our daily needs.
But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or With what shall we clothe ourselves? For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (NASB) Matt. 6:30-32
Yet, we are encouraged to ask. We are also encouraged to ask for forgiveness and to be delivered from temptation before we close our prayer. Here is a short prayer that a four-year-old gave in church one Sunday.
And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.
The young one was actually not too far off. Our sins are trash. Did you notice that God is holy and we are not? His name is be “hallowed” or “made holy” and we need forgiveness!
Focus On Others
Later in the New Testament the Holy Spirit encourages us to pray for the needs of others.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints . . . (NASB) Eph. 6:18
Yes, God knows their needs, too, but we are encouraged to ask for them also. Here are some others things we can request.
|For a demon to be removed||Mark 9:28-29|
|For escape from trouble||Mark 13:18|
|For escape from temptation||Mark 14:38|
|For those who curse you||Luke 6:28|
|For help in making a decision||Acts 1:24-25|
|To know more about God||Acts 10:1-8|
|For someone in trouble||Acts 12:5|
|For help in ministry||Acts 13:2-3|
|For the salvation of others||Rom 10:1; 2 Thess. 3:1|
|For help||2 Cor. 1:11|
|Others to do what is morally right||2 Cor. 13:7|
|Others will love more||Philippians 1:9|
|Thank God||Philemon 1:4|
|For healing||James 5:13|
All kinds of needs to pray for: health, joy, thankfulness, forgiveness, spiritual growth, financial needs, and opportunities to share Jesus with others.
What can we pray for? We can pray for God, ourselves, and others. Holiness is the first thing that came to Jesus’ mind. Then we can pray for ourselves and others.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit . . . (NASB) Jude 1:20
May the Lord bless you as you pray.