The Bible teaches that God created us and saved us for a relationship of experiential fellowship with Him (John 17:3). Talking with God in prayer is supposed to be like breathing: one of our most primal purposes in life is to have a conversational relationship with God through prayer. Prayer is also the God-ordained means by which we can participate in accomplishing his purposes on the earth. God promises to draw near to us when we draw near to him, and to answer the prayers of people who seek him through Jesus (Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:8; John 14:13). You were born to pray.
What is Prayer?
Simply put, prayer is talking to God. God is a personal being in whom love and communication existed for eternity past, and God created us as communicating social beings to enjoy his fellowship and love (John 17:20-26). Prayer is a form of depending on God (Genesis 2:16), serving God (Luke 2:36-38), obeying God (Philippians 4:6-7), and being like Jesus (Mark 1:35). We can talk to God in faith that he hears us, he wants to reveal himself to us, and he speaks to us (Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:14-15).
How Do I Pray?
There are no formulas to prayer, no required postures, and no magic words to say in prayer. God’s Word tells us to pray in faith with confidence that God hears us and that he will answer us (Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:14-15; John 14:13-14). We are instructed to ask for things “according to his will,” that is, asking for the things that God wants. Jesus explained that he is the only way to a relationship with the Father, so prayer begins with believing that he made a way to reconcile us to God (John 3:16; John 14:6). Jesus also gives us a pattern for prayer in The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-13).
Another helpful template for prayer is the A.C.T.S. prayer. Adoration praises or adores God for his wonderful character and his works. Confession admits to God the wrongs we have committed that justify our separation from him, but that Jesus Christ died in our place to forgive. Thanksgiving expresses thanks and gratitude for God’s gifts, blessings, salvation, and gracious working in our lives. Supplication is coming before God with requests and petitions to ask for him to intervene in our lives and circumstances, provide for what we need, and fulfill his Kingdom agenda.
Should I ask someone to pray for me?
The answer is: most definitely. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:18-20 teaches the Ephesians how to pray and then asks for their prayers:
“Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the “mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.”
Scriptures About Prayer
Both the Old and New Testaments have many references to prayer which explain God’s purpose for prayer, reveal his promises in response to prayer, document his answers to prayer, and model prayers of others.
Old Testament Teaching on Prayer and Praying
2 Chronicles 6:21 NIV: Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Jeremiah 17:14 NIV
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.
Jeremiah 29:12 NIV: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
New Testament Teaching on Prayer and Praying
Jesus’ example of prayer is recorded in The Lord’s Prayer:
Matthew 6:5-13, NKJV
Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.
Luke 11:1-4, NKJV:
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Give each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone
in debt to us.
And do not bring us into temptation.
The Lord’s Prayer is possibly the most memorized passage of the bible. The Lord’s Prayer serves as a corporate prayer and is recited in churches around the globe every Sunday. Many believers recite the Lord’s Prayer as a personal prayer on a daily basis.
Author Lori Hatcher1 gives us another perspective in one of her articles on prayer. Ms. Hatcher writes that The Lord’s Prayer should serve as a model for our prayers.
“Lord,” His disciples asked, “Teach us to pray.” In response, Jesus gave them practical tips for how to pray (Matthew. 6:5-18): Don’t pray in such a way as to call attention to yourself. Do most of your praying in private. And don’t, as the King James Version of the Bible says, pray “vain repetitions.” In other words, every prayer should be an original expression of your heart.
Jesus intended His words to be a model or a sample prayer, not one meant to be recited verbatim. He said, “This then, is how you should pray. . .” He didn’t say, “This, then, is what you should pray.” Scholars agree that Jesus was instructing the disciples to take the framework of his model prayer and use it to fashion their own original petitions. The above commentary is written by Lori Hatcher.1
(1) Lori Hatcher is a blogger, inspirational speaker, and author of the Christian Small Publisher’s 2016 Book of the Year, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. A Toastmasters International contest-winning speaker, Lori’s goal is to help busy women connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.