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How to Pray


Are you looking for a way to improve your prayer life?
What is a good model for prayer?
How do you use the LORD’s Prayer as a guide?

Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:

How to Pray

"In this manner, therefore, pray: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name." – Matthew 6:9 (NKJV)

Knowing the power of prayer is one thing, but knowing how to pray is completely different. When facing spiritual warfare, we must know how to pray. If prayer is simply talking to God, how complicated can it be? Not very - but unfortunately, we tend to complicate things! For some of us, when something seems more complicated, it feels more effective, and if it’s not complicated, somehow we can feel that it is less effective.

Jesus knew this would be the case with prayer as well, so He gave us a guide on how to pray. He also did this because the religious leaders of His time had made prayer into a mystery and a show.

Jesus knew that a show was the last thing prayer should be. After all, why would you want to "show off" before an all-knowing and all-seeing God? Prayer should be simple and from the heart. Length, elaborate language, and volume should not determine the value of an individual’s prayer, but rather, truth, faith, focus, and sincerity should.

In response, the disciples’ request to be taught how to pray, Jesus gave us all a model for prayer that is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13.

But before teaching the disciples how to pray, He taught them how not to pray:

  1. "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." – Matthew 6:5-6 (NKJV)

In other words, Jesus was saying : "Don’t pray for show, but make prayer a private, intimate dialogue between God and yourself."

  1. "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."
    – Matthew 6:7-8 (NKJV)

These two verses can be summarized as follows - "Don’t focus on the length of your prayer, or think that God will hear you better if you repeat yourself - focus on the transparency of your heart before Him."

These instructions from the LORD on how not to pray immediately preceded the prayer known as "The LORD’s Prayer." This is a powerful prayer that He has given us as an example for us to follow.

How can we pray using the LORD’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as a guide?

  1. "Our Father" - Acknowledge Him as your Dad: approachable, reachable, and reasonable.
  2. "Hallowed be Your name" - Recognize His holiness. He is like no other - holy, majestic, glorious, set apart and awesome.
  3. "Your Kingdom come" - Invite Him and His Kingdom's presence and precepts into your life, family, business, and community.
  4. "Your will be done" - Surrender your life completely to Him. Make room for His Lordship, and for Him to rule and reign in every aspect of your life.
  5. "On earth as in heaven" - Pray until you enter heaven’s gates. Desire to see the kingdom of heaven manifest on earth. Model the Kingdom of heaven through your lifestyle.
  6. "Give us this day our daily bread" - Demonstrate your daily dependence upon Him for your provision, revenue, and for all that you need, including great ideas, and favor with men and with your customers.
  7. "Forgive us our debts" - Acknowledge your shortcomings and limitations. Let your mind be renewed by the Holy Spirit so that you can repent of known and unknown sins.
  8. "Forgive those who are indebted to you" - As He has released you from your debt of sin through His blood, forgive and release others from their debts to you. Cleanse your conscience of all grudges. Let go of all hurt and pain, from every source.
  9. "Lead us not into temptation" – Request guidance and wisdom to avoid situations that will cause you to sin (lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life).
  10. "Deliver us from the evil one" – Plead the blood of Jesus over yourself, your family, and your business, to protect you from the attacks of Satan.
  11. "Yours is the kingdom" – Recognize that everything on earth belongs to Him. You are His and He has given you stewardship over His creation.
  12. "The power and the glory" – He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and glorious, and able to do anything He chooses.
  13. "Forever" – There are no limits, and no beginning or ending, to the power and the glory of His kingdom.
  14. "Amen" – We agree with what has been said. It is done, and so shall it be!

Jesus concludes His instructions on how to pray with an interesting point.

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." - Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)

The key to prayer is not what you say but the place that your prayers are coming from - in other words the condition, focus, and sincerity of your heart is what will move God when you pray.

If your heart is not right, your words are meaningless and carry little weight.

If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
- Psalm 66:18

But if your heart is right, you can say very little and move God’s heart greatly.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
- James 5:16 (NKJV)

Go ahead. Release those that you are holding grudges against, whether they are family members, neighbors, friends, customers, vendors, partners, or competitors. Release them so that you can make way for your unanswered prayers to be heard and answered by your Daddy. Release them so that you can win the warfare that you are currently facing.

My prayer for you today is that God will guide you to pray a radical prayer that will move His heart in your business and family, and to overcome every spiritual battle and obstacle that you may be facing, so that you will know the complete victory in Christ that is your inheritance in Him.

Reflection: How fervent are your prayers… are you declaring or begging?

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Copyright © Patrice Tsague NPIM
Posted on Monday, 03 June 2024

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