I often hear from Christians that they are uncomfortable praying or that they don’t pray well. So lets look at some of the examples we have in scripture.
First, let’s see how Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:5-14
5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (NASB)
Often, the lesson of how Jesus instructed His Disciples in prayer is limited to verses 9-13; however, if we do that we lose some very important instructions. Jesus lived a life of prayer. Many times we see written in the gospels that He moved away to a quiet place to pray. Clearly the disciples noticed this was an important part of prayer (so important, they were prompted by the Holy Spirit to write it down, repeatedly). There is a difference between “praying as the hypocrites” do and “leading others in prayer”. Here, Jesus is primarily concerned with prayer as a communication with Our Father in Heaven. Remember that you are talking to a personal God, not a deaf stone. That our Father knows what we need before we ask Him, means that we simply need to ask Him, knowing that He hears and knows your needs. Don’t be impressed by how many different ways someone can ask God for the same thing… if you had some time and a thesaurus, you, too, could engage in meaningless repetition (now, if you are leading others in prayer and fear you might have used a phrase that could be confusing, then by all means restate for their benefit, knowing that the repetition isn’t needed by God). A danger of the constant repetition is that at some point you just need to accept on faith that God hears and will answer. This is not a ban on praying again for the same thing. But know that when you speak to God in prayer, He hears immediately.
So, how do we pray for others? I heard a short snippet on the radio of Dr. Charles Stanley giving a sermon on prayer and he referenced an excellent example found in
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
What a wonderful prayer to be prayed over a brother/sister in Christ. I would very much love to know that this was being prayed over me.
- That I might be filled with the knowledge of His Will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding — Yes, please!
- So that I will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord — absolutely. We all know how difficult this can be on a daily basis, especially while under attack at work or school.
- to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work — Amen.
- increasing in the knowledge of God — again… awesome. That I might make the time to read the Word and that the Holy Spirit will help me grow in the full knowledge of God
- strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might — though my flesh is weak… that I be made strong in Him
- for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience –– okay… this is never “fun” but it is so necessary
- joyously giving thanks to the Father — that I remember to give all thanks, honor, glory, and praise to God the Father.
Wow. So, brothers/sisters… if ever anyone asks you for prayer but fails to specify (that’s another topic for another day)… pray this over them. Pray this prayer over your leadership and your family.