When you pray

Jesus taught us how to pray.

Matthew 6.6-10 NIV  “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
.'”

So few words, yet they say everything.

The New Testament gave us insight into prayer.

They “joined constantly in prayer” (Acts 1.14).  They sought direction from God in prayer (Acts 1.24). They were faithful in prayer (Romans 12.12).  They were cautioned to devote themselves to prayer (I Cor. 7.5).  Paul asked them to pray for him (Eph. 6.19) and he told the Philippians (1.4) “I pray for you.”  Pray with petition (Phil. 4.6), pray earnestly (I Thess. 3.10), pray continually (I Thess. 5.17).  James 5.13 says to pray in times of trouble.  I Peter tells husbands to treat their wives well so their prayers won’t be hindered and later to be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray (4.7).

Throughout the course of my life I have been told I wasn’t praying right/correctly/effectively if I…

  • didn’t pray very early in the morning (certainly before 7 am)
  • didn’t pray loud enough or with enough authority
  • didn’t command and speak the promises of God into existance
  • didn’t pray in tongues or, by certain groups, if I  did pray in tongues
  • didn’t pray with my mind or did pray with my mind
  • didn’t pray long enough (couldn’t “tarry one hour”)
  • wasn’t on my knees
  • wasn’t pacing around taking authority
  • didn’t go to the altar
  • prayed with my eyes open or prayed with my eyes closed
  • didn’t pray the scriptures in the first person
  • spoke too quietly, or carried on too loudly

Whew!  Tiring.

How will I ever get prayer right?  Well, His Word is His will and when my praying lines up with His Word I can know I am praying a prayer He will not only hear, but that I will most assurredly have that prayer answered. 

1 John 5.14-15 Amp.  “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”

But I also know that in the times I have been broken and can barely put together two syllables, when I am curled up in the fetal position, and can only manage Ab-ba….He has heard my prayer.  When there are no formulas and when I am respectfully following a liturgy that is different from how I was raised, I am praying.  He is hearing.

Yikes, everybody – let us pray

Let us pray when we know how to pray and when we don’t.  Let us pray when only groanings come forth and the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.  Let us talk to God like Adam when they walked in the garden in the cool of the day.  Let us talk to God like Moses when he questioned and avoided and moaned a little, or like David when he wanted God to gnash his enemies’ teeth, but also when he was just filled to the brim with praise and adoration and gushing over God’s wonderfulness!

Let’s quit with the compulsory formulas and mandatory prayer perimeters.  When you ask me to pray for you, tell me how I can agree with you in prayer {what are YOU praying?}, but don’t insist I follow your blueprint in praying.  You are already doing that.  Let me talk to God on your behalf in the language of love He and I share.  I feel trapped when some one asks me to pray and then tells me how to do it and what to say, or how it won’t work if it isn’t exactly like they pray.  Are they really open to God’s leading?  Will they really allow me to talk to the Father on their behalf and hear His heart about the situation?

Prayer ritual/formula/rules doesn’t change things. God changes things – and I can trust Him in that.  He is faithful.  {He knows what I need before I even ask!} He hears us even when we don’t follow the current prayer craze. Or when we don’t pray “as well as” the next person.  I don’t trust my prayer, but I trust Him.  If all were dependant on my well-developed prayers, I’d make it my hobby to be great at it.  At times I have.  It is vanity.

I will pray for you.   Let me go to Our Father from the place I have learned to trust Him for you.  But the real thing you have going for you is that Jesus is interceding for us (Romans 8.33-35).

FOUND: in the drafts folder from early July 2009…should I have left it there???

MY FAVORITE PRAYER IN THE BIBLE: Mark 9:24 NKJV “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

3 thoughts on “When you pray

  1. Oh, I am so glad you are blogging again. You strengthen me daily, and I agree with Joel. Thank you Lord for Jeanie and her knowledge of your word and for sharing it with us.

  2. No, I agree with the others. Good thoughts. We just need to pray. Like exercise. We will develop our prayer muscle if we just use it. Just pray.

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