Tuesday, November 29, 2022

What is a Good Prayer?

VIDEO: How to Pray

When I “pray” to God, rarely do I make a formal petition. Most often when I pray, I simply speak to God in a respectful manner by acknowledging who He is. If there isn’t an actual time of thanksgiving and praise an attitude of gratitude is usually present. 

Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 AKJV)

Prayer is pausing throughout the day and turning our minds toward God to say “thank You.” This is how we fulfill the instructions of the Apostle Paul because we have a wonderful relationship with God through Jesus. 

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 ESV)

In the ancient language, “Abba” was the name used for a father by a young child, like papa or daddy. If you were the son of an earthly king, on formal occasions you would call him, “Your Majesty,” but how much better is it to address him as “Papa?” There are times when you need to approach God in a way other than Abba, but “Father” should be the foundation of our relationship with Him. 

Jesus demonstrated this when His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray the “Our Father” prayer. This example shows us the important components of a good prayer (Luke 11:2-4):

1. Addressing who God is 
    Our Father Who is in Heaven
2. Honoring or praising God 
    hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.
3. Submitting our will to God’s will  
    Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
4. Acknowledging God as your owner who provides for you
    Give us this day our daily bread. 
5. Forgiving others
    And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended us or done us wrong]
6. We should pause here to listen to the Holy Spirit to see if there is someone we need to forgive.
7. Asking for help
    And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

These are the components of a good prayer. They can be expressed in thousands of ways. We may not include all of them every time we pray, but we should try. In the Book of Matthew, there is additional information concerning prayer:

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:13b-14 AMPC)

In these two verses we see two items that can hinder our prayers:

1. “For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory…” is often left out of many versions of the Bible, but it is perhaps the most important aspect of praying. Jesus’ half-brother, James speaks about it as well:

You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts. (James 4:3 AKJV)

Why are you praying? Is it to help you do more for God’s Kingdom and grow closer to Him? Or for your own personal gain? A prayer that is for God’s glory, according to His will is the one that will be answered. 

2. Are you harboring unforgiveness? Jesus told a parable about a man who a king forgave a great debt: The man then refused to forgive the small debts owed to him. When the king discovered what happened, the man was imprisoned and tortured! 

As Christians, we must learn to walk in forgiveness because we have been forgiven of our sins against God. These are two of the basic hindrances to any prayer.  This is why a pause to listen in prayer is so very important. The Lord is faithful and will show us if something is hindering his answers! Prayer is a conversation with God and it should be a two-sided conversation where we take time to listen!

Other sections of the Bible contain material that we can use in our prayer life. Please see the PDF in this Academy 601 class for some examples of prayers from scripture, including this one! 

Lifestyle of Prayer

Prayer isn’t something we have to do in a special way, with special items. Prayer is connecting with God in our thoughts or with our words. Because God is Abba, He wants to connect with us as often as possible and about everything!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 AKJV)

The Greek word merimnaƍ is translated as “be anxious” and “be careful” but more precisely means to be troubled with care. In modern-day language we would say, “don’t worry about anything.” When we worry about something, we are not trusting that God can take care of it. This may sound impossible, especially when we are in a tough situation, however, learning about who God is will provide the encouragement we need. 

The best way to learn about God is to read the Bible. The written stories will give us a picture of God’s abilities, strength, and faithfulness. 

[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. (Psalms 91:4 AMPC)

We must trust in the Lord and run to Him for refuge. A shield and buckler can often be used as synonyms, however, Strong’s Concordance points out that “buckler” could also mean “fortress.” Not only is the Lord’s truth and faithfulness our personal shield, but it is also our place of fortified strength! In order to stand strong in His ways, we must take time to learn about this truth and faithfulness.

When I was young, my mom used to tell me, “You always have time for what is really important to you.” Now that I am older, I see that is true. How important is your relationship with God? 

This technological world has so many distractions. If we want, we can fill every minute of every day with something fun or entertaining. It takes effort and sacrifice to spend time learning about God, speaking to Him, or listening for His instructions but the rewards are well worth it! 

More Articles on the Courts of Heaven can be found in the: 

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