Saturday, April 28, 2018

Keys to Prayer

Someone who recently gave his life to Christ asked me how he should pray, which is a completely valid question for a new believer. My answer to him may also be helpful to you as well. While it is intended for new believers who may not know where to begin, or who may have previously only known idolatrous religion, it may also be helpful for those who are more mature in the Lord.

Talk to God
Prayer is talking to God, so talk to him like you would talk to a person, except in this case with great love, reverence, respect, and awe. Pray to the Father in heaven in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (Jn 14:14, NIV).

You have direct access to the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (Jn 14:6, NIV).

Do not pray to Mary, the saints, angels, spirit guides, or other entities. Jesus is your only mediator. "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim 2:5).

If you need some sort of guideline for what to pray about, use the Lord's Prayer as your structure, not merely as a formula prayer, but as an outline for your prayers. I have written in more detail about this in my article, The Disciples’ Prayer.

Begin by coming to Him in Jesus' name with thanksgiving, thanking Him for every blessing He has given you. The psalmist said, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." (Ps 100:4, NIV). You can thank Him for life, health, strength, your salvation, food, clothing, shelter, your Bible, the privilege of prayer, etc. You can thank Him for your identity in Christ. Give thanks in all things, even your trials. For more on this, please see Giving Thanks in Everything.

Begin also by praising Him according to Ps 100:4 and Mt 6:9 for who He is: His love, omnipotent power, awesome name, holiness, majesty, beauty, compassion, care, omniscience, etc. For more on this topic, please see Praise the Lord!

Claim the Promises of God
During your prayer time, as the Spirit of God leads you, you may claim His promises for yourself out loud. Prayer Promises.

Pray According to Scripture
It's important to pray according to the Word of God. Aside from claiming His promises, you should also pray in accordance with what is written in Scripture. That includes patterns of prayer found in the Bible through the examples of the Lord Jesus Himself (e.g., Jn 17; Mt 11:25; 26:36-56), as well as others like David (see Psalms), Daniel (Dan 9:1-19), Nehemiah (Neh 1:1 - 2:9), and the apostle Paul (Eph 1:16-23). Praying according to Scripture also includes praying according to any verse of Scripture as the Spirit of God leads you.

Pray According to God's Will
If you are praying according to Scripture, you should be praying according to God's will, but I will mention this separately, because it is so important. The way to get your prayers answered is to make sure God hears you, and you know He hears you if you pray in His will. The apostle John said, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him." (1 Jn 5:14-15, NIV).

Have Faith
The Scriptures teach us that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Heb 11:6, NIV). So you must believe that God exists and that He will reward you as you diligently seek Him.

Be confident as you approach the throne of God, since you have such a great high priest. For the apostle said:

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:14-16, NIV).

Faith Proclamations
Another thing you may do in pray is to make Personal Proclamations of Faith, declaring out loud the truth that God's Word says about you and those you are praying for.

Covenant Prayer
You might also incorporate this covenant prayer in some way: Covenant Prayer.

Interceding for Others
You should pray for others such as:

1, Your unsaved parents, family, other relatives, and friends, asking God to help them come to know Jesus and be saved.
2. Your government leaders, including local, state, national, and all those in authority, such as law enforcement officials (1 Tim 2:1-3).
3. Your teachers and/or those over you in your job.
4. Your pastor, teacher, spiritual mentor, and those in authority.
5. Anyone you know that needs healing or deliverance.
6. For the people you share Jesus with that they would come to know Him.
7. For all the saints (Eph 6:18) and for all men (1 Tim 2:1-3).

For more on this, please see my article, Standing in the Gap.

Pray for Yourself
Talk to God about your own needs as you pray for yourself. Some of the things you can specifically pray about are for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, wisdom, understanding, forgiveness, not to fall into temptation, deliverance from evil (including evil spirits), for protection, for His provision for you, for opportunities to share Jesus with specific people, for guidance and direction concerning your life, for His will to be done in your life, etc.

In Secret with No Images
Jesus said, "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." (Mt 6:6).

So when you pray, do so in secret, to your unseen Father in heaven, and do not pray in front of any images, since that would be an abomination to God. There is no need for symbols or prayer beads either. For more on this, please see Modern Day Idols.

Pray Out Loud
It's also best to pray out loud, rather than silently, although it's fine to pray in your heart silently as needed in certain circumstances. For more on this please see Crying Out to God Loudly.

Pray in the Spirit
The Bible teaches us to pray in the Spirit, so this is an important key.

Jude wrote: "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." (Jude 1:20).

Paul wrote: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." (Eph 6:18, NIV).

"For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding." (1 Cor 14:14-15, NIV).

In order to pray deeply in the Spirit, you need to first receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. For more on that please see my article, Baptized with the Spirit.

You can sit, stand, kneel, or lay on your face to pray. But one very good way to pray that is found in the Bible and helps you to express your reverence for God is kneeling. I also suggest praying with your eyes closed and your hands uplifted to the Lord. For more on these topics, please see Lifting Hands in PrayerLifting Your Face in Prayer, and Bowing Low in Worship.

Put on the Wardrobe of the Saints
Just as you need to get dressed everyday, you need to put on spiritual garments, too. For more on this, please see The Wardrobe of the Saints.

Head Covering
If you are a male, then pray with your head uncovered, and if you are a female, then pray with your head covered. The apostle Paul wrote: "Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head...a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels." (1 Cor 11:4-5a, 10b NIV). For more on this, please see my article Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?

Listen to God
Get to know Him. Listen to His voice. For more on this, please see Hearing the Lord's Voice and Inquiring of the Lord.

Worship the Lord
Take time just to express your love for God. Pour your love on Him. He is your great big Abba Father. Worship and adore Him for who He is. Bask in His presence and enjoy your time with Him.

You might like to play some instrumental worship music while you are praying or not have any music at all. Here is a link to instrumental worship to play while you pray, if you like.

I hope you have found these keys helpful as you spend time each day with the Lord in prayer.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan. 

Author's Note:  If you enjoyed this message,  you may also like other articles about prayer which you can find on the Home page of this blog. I also invite you to visit my collection of blogs at "Writing for the Master."  Now let me ask you a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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