Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teach Me To Pray, pt.2

A summarized look at Chapter 2 of Lord, Teach Me To Pray

How Should We Pray?

There are many ways to pray – pray on your knees, pray with your hands up, pray with your hands folded, read a prayer out of a book, pray aloud, pray silently, or pray in many other ways. But Paul says that we are to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). If we are going to be praying all the time, we must be able to pray in all kinds of different ways.

When is the best time to pray? Psalm 55:17 says, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray.” Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). Luke 6:12 says that Jesus “continued all night in prayer to God.” Prayer ought to characterize our whole way of life.

There are no set formulas for prayer – but the following are guiding principles:

  1. Ask In Christ’s Name – When Christ commands us to pray in His name, He wants us to pray consistent with who He is – His person, His will, and His purposes. When we truly pray in the name of Christ, we ought to be seeking to align ourselves with the will of God. So don’t get in the habit of adding “in Jesus’ name” to the end of your prayers with little or no thought for the reason you’re doing so. Rather, realize to whom you are praying and why. You are coming to the Lord of the universe to be used by Him in the accomplishment of His will in your life. (Note: MacArthur says that he closes his prayers with: “This I ask because I believe this is consistent with the will and person of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Because that thought pervades his prayer, it allows him to filter out all unnecessary and selfish requests)
  2. Ask In Faith – All Christians need to approach God believing in His wisdom and power. He wants to see us trust Him. …If you don’t believe God’s promises, the Bible says you make Him a liar (1 John 5:10). As Christians, we dishonour God when we doubt Him. Unbelievers ought to be able to know Christians as those who live confidently because our trust in God is evident.
  3. Ask In The Spirit – In times that we simply don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit helps out (Romans 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit is constantly praying for us. Ephesians 6:18 says we are to pray “in the Spirit.” That simply means that because the Holy Spirit always prays in the will of God, we need to line ourselves up with Him. Offer prayers that are consistent with the Spirit’s prayers so that you are committed only to God’s will. Praying in the Spirit is the same as praying in the name of Christ – praying in a manner consistent with who He is and what His will is. …But how do we do that? By walking in the fullness of the Spirit. As our lives are filled with the Spirit, as we walk in obedience to Him, and as we are constantly communing with God, the Spirit of God will govern our thoughts so that our prayers will be in harmony with Him. That is supernatural praying – when the Spirit of God pulls you into His praying patterns.
  4. Ask From A Pure Heart – James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” We need to ask from a pure heart for God to consider our prayers. What is the righteousness James refers to? A personal and practical righteousness. We are commanded to live righteous lives. What James is saying is that if you expect God to answer your prayers, you must be committed to living a righteous life. (other verses about this: 1 John 3:22; Psalm 66:18; Psalm 34:15).

A Prayer Of Charles Spurgeon:

… Lord, help us to do Thy will. Take the crippled kingdom of our manhood and reign Thou over it. Let spirit and body be consecrated to God. May there be no reserves; may everything be given up to Thee. Reign forever! Pierced King, despised and nailed to a tree, sit Thou on the glorious high throne in our hearts, and may our lives prove that Thou art Lord over us; by our every thought and desire, and imagination, and word, and act, in every respect being under Thy divine control.

Scripture verses mentioned:

Daniel 6:10 - Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

1 John 5:10 - Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

Romans 8:26-27 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

1 John 3:22 - …and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

Psalm 66:18 - If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

Psalm 34:15 - The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.

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