How to Pray: Part 2
Prayer isn’t about giving God a to do list, but it is about connecting with God. When we pray we empty our hearts to God. We not only tell Him of our wants, but also about our sins, fears, worries, hopes, successes, and loves. Prayer allows us to seek God’s will and establish a connection of faith and trust with Him.
Jesus’ initial teaching about prayer (Matthew 6:5-8) dealt with two great truths. The first truth that we need to remember is that place is very important when we pray. If we hope to really connect with God we can’t pray in public for the world to see, but we need be by ourselves, away for people and distractions, in order to give God our entire attention.
The second truth that we find in that initial teaching is that words are not important. Prayer isn’t about saying the right words, phrases, or the right formula. Prayer is telling God what is in our hearts. When prayer isn’t about the “right” words then we can stop worrying about whether or not we are connecting with God and simply focus on building a connection with Him that is found on love and trust. Don’t worry about the words you use, focus on being honest with God.
After giving the disciples a couple of truths about prayer Jesus gives them a model prayer. This model prayer is found in Matthew 6:9-13. There is no magic to this prayer. You can repeat this prayer over and over again, but it won’t do any good. God isn’t interested in people parroting the right words, just as He wasn’t interested in people offering sacrifices out of religious obligation in the Old Testament. What God wants is a people devoted to Him. God is interested in our hearts and having a relationship with us. When we forget about this we make prayer just a religious exercise and the power of prayer to change our lives disappears.
This prayer, what we call The Lord’s Prayer, is a model of what a prayer looks or sounds like. Our prayers can be longer, they can be shorter, they can be in English, Greek, Hebrew, or any other language. What is important is that pray focuses our attention on God. Ultimately, I believe, prayer is about focusing on God. All our problems, concerns, and sickness shrink in significance when we are able to focus on God and His great love for us.
We are able to do that when we are confident in our relationship with God and His love for us. If we are not confident about God’s love then we will constantly be asking God to give us the life we want rather than trusting Him to give us the life we need. Being confident in our relationship with God helps us to keep prayer focused on what is important. We can only be confident of that relationship if we are certain of God’s love for us. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-39:
35 Who can separate us from Christ's love? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or a sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long. We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through the one who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor anything above, nor anything below, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(ISV).
Being confident of God’s love allows us to have a relationship with God that provides us with hope, peace, and strength. The certainty of God’s love changes the outlook of our lives, and it directs how we pray. To have the proper focus for pray requires us to be confident in our relationship with God.
- Point to Ponder: Being confident in our relationship with God helps us to keep prayer focused on what is important.
- Passage to Remember: Romans 8:35-39
- Question to Consider: Are you certain God loves you?