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12th March 2017 - What is the proper way to Pray

What is the proper way to Pray

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12th March 2017 - What is the proper way to Pray

  1. 1. What is the proper way to pray – 12th March 2017 “Whenyouask, you do notreceive, because youask with wrong motives,that youmay spend what you get on your pleasures.”(James4:3). Prayeris a primaryrequirementforall Christians.Butdue tovariousfalse teachingsmanyChristiansstill keepaskingapastor or a preacheras to how one shouldpray. Isit bestto pray standingup,sitting down,kneeling,orbowingdown?Shouldourhandsbe open,closed,orlifteduptoGod?Do oureyes needtobe closedwhenwe pray?Isit bettertopray ina church buildingoroutinnature?Shouldwe pray inthe morningwhenwe getup or at nightbefore we goto bed?Are there certainwordswe need to say inour prayers?Howdo we beginourprayers?What is the properwayto close a prayer?These questions,andothers,are commonquestionsaskedaboutprayer.Whatisthe properway to pray?Do any of the above thingsevenmatter? The closestthe Bible comestogivinga “pattern”for prayeris foundinMatthew 6 where we findJesus teachingaboutprayer.Firstunderstandingthatwe shouldhave isthatourprayersare betweenusand God. Atthe time of Jesusaswell asnow,in some Churches,there are people wholike tobe observedby othersas verydevoutChristians.Jesus’teachingisfoundin Matthew6: 5-6, “Andwhen you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,for they loveto pray standinginthe synagoguesandon the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you,they have received their reward in full. 6 But when youpray, go intoyour room, close the door andpray to your Father, who isunseen. Then your Father, who sees what is donein secret, will reward you.” One may inquire astowhy Jesus saidthis.If one isprayingto be seenbyothersas a devoutperson, Jesusreferredtothemashypocrites.MerriamWebsterdictionarydefinesahypocrite asa personwho putson a false appearance of virtue orreligion.Because,suchpeople actincontradictiontohisor her statedbeliefsorfeelings…Therefore theirobjective insuchprayerisnot speakingtothe fatherthrough theirprayer, buthave a differentmotive,whichissimplytobe NOTICED…andJesussaysthattheyhave receivedtheirrewardin FULL…!As a follow uptothisteachingJesusalsoadvisesusaswe can read from Matthew 6:7-8, “And when youpray, do not keep on babblinglikepagans,forthey think they will be heard because oftheir manywords. 8 Do not be like them, foryour Father knows what youneed before you ask him.” The properway to pray isto expressourheartsto God.Sitting,standing,orkneeling;handsopenor closed;eyesopenedorclosed;ina church,at home,oroutside;inthe morningorat night—these are all side issues,subjecttopersonal preference,conviction,andappropriateness.God’sdesire isforprayerto be a real and personal connectionbetweenHimandus. Furtherto thisJesusteachesusas to how we shouldpray.He teachesus the Lord’s Prayeras found in Matthew 6:9-13. A lotof Christianslearnthisasone of the veryfirstprayersone learnsandas such practically all of us knowitby heart.But as Christianswe needtounderstand thatthe Lord’sPrayeris not a prayersimplytobe memorizedbyusas a recitationtoGod. It isan example of the thingsthat shouldgointoa prayer—worship,trustinGod,requests,confession,andsubmission. “This,then,ishow you shouldpray:“‘OurFather in heaven, hallowedbe your name, 10 your kingdomcome,your will be done, onearth asit is in heaven. 11 Giveustoday our dailybread.12 Andforgiveus our debts,as we alsohave forgivenour debtors. 13 Andlead us notinto temptation,but deliverus from the evil one.”
  2. 2. We are to pray for the thingsthe Lord’sPrayer teachesus,usingourownwords and“customizing”itto our ownjourneywithGod. For an example we sayin Matthew6:12, “Andforgiveus our debts, aswe alsohave forgivenour debtors.” Why didJesusteachus to saythis?We can get an understandingwhen we read Matthew 6: 14-15,“ For ifyou forgiveother peoplewhen they sin againstyou,your heavenly Father will alsoforgive you. 15 But if youdo not forgiveothers their sins,yourFather will not forgive your sins.” ThisisJesus’teaching!Therefore thisimportantprayerisNOTsimplyfor the purpose of recital buta verymeaningfulprayerthatcontainsmanyelementsastohow we shouldpray. Far too often, some Christiansconsiderprayerasa “magicformula.”Some othersbelieve thatif we do not sayexactlythe rightthings,or prayin the rightposition,Godwill nothearand answerourprayer. Thisis completelyunbiblical.Goddoesnotanswerourprayersbasedonwhenwe pray, where we are, whatpositionourbodyisin, or inwhat orderwe wordour prayers. We can learnfrom 1 John5:14-15, “Thisis the confidencewe have inapproachingGod:thatif we ask anythingaccordingto hiswill,he hears us. 15 Andif we know that he hears us—whateverwe ask—weknow that we have what we asked of him.” Therefore insteadof allowingunbiblical prompting toaffectus,as Christianswe are tohave confidence whenwe come to God inprayer,knowingHe hearsus and will grantwhateverwe ask…aslongas the ultimate reasonforourrequestisin adherence toHiswill. Hiswill istoglorifyGod.Therefore we cannot ask God to be a magicianand give us“whatever”we askfromHim. We can learnthisfrom John 14:13- 14, “AndI will do whatever you ask in my name,so that the Father may be glorifiedinthe Son. 14 You may ask me for anythinginmy name, andI will doit.” Is ittrue that God hasgivenusa blank cheque toask anythingof Himjustas one mightask a genie ina fairytale?Some misunderstandthistobe the case,but I John5:14 qualifieswhatHe will grant: “Thisis the confidencewe have inapproachingGod:that ifwe ask anythingaccordingtohis will,he hears us." Real prayeris communionwithGod,andwhatis necessaryforcommunionare commonthoughts betweenHismindandours. Forexample anew Holidayhome ora Mercedesalthoughmaybe foremost inonesthoughts,itmay be NOT be His will unlesshe allowsit. Whatwe needisforHim to fill ourminds and heartswithHisthoughts.ThenHisdesireswill becomeourdesiresflowingbacktoHimin the form of prayer. James4:3 confirmsthis:"“Whenyouask, youdo not receive, becauseyou ask with wrong motives,that you may spendwhat you get on your pleasures.”(James4:3). One may inquire:ButdoesnotJesussayin I John5:14 “Youmay ask me for anythinginmy name, andI will do it…” He most assuredlydoes,but we forgetthe importantelement.ToaskGod for anythingin the name of JesusChrist, itmust be inkeepingwithwhatHe is.To ask inChrist'sname isto ask as thoughChristHimself were asking.Therefore,we canonlyaskforwhat ChristHimself wouldask.Itis therefore necessarytosetaside ourownwill andaccept God's…andthisunderstandingcomestous throughour faithin Jesus.We can learnwhere Jesussaysin John8:29: “The one who sent me is with me; he hasnot left me alone,for I alwaysdowhat pleases him.” So,what isthe properwayto pray? We can readas saidby Paul inPhilippians4to pray withoutbeing anxious,toprayabout everything,andtopray withthankful hearts. “Donot be anxiousaboutanything, but in every situation,byprayer andpetition,with thanksgiving,presentyourrequests to God. 7 And the peace ofGod,which transcendsall understanding,will guardyour hearts andyour mindsin Christ Jesus.”(Philippians4:6-7).God will answerall suchprayerswiththe giftof Hispeace in our hearts.The
  3. 3. properwayto pray is to pourout our heartsto God, beinghonestandopenwithGod,asHe already knowsusbetterthan we knowourselves.We are to presentourrequeststoGod,keepinginmindthat God knowswhatis bestandwill notgrant a requestthatis notHis will forus.We are to expressour love,gratitude,andworshiptoGodinprayer withoutworryingabouthavingjustthe rightwordstosay. God ismore interestedinthe contentof ourheartsthan the eloquence of ourwords.