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How to Talk with God in Prayer

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Our Father,
Who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
in earth,
As it is in Heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not
into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13

"Lord, teach us to pray," Jesus' disciples asked. This simple prayer which Jesus taught His disciples can show us too how to talk with God in prayer.

Our Father Who art in Heaven.

Jesus taught His disciples to call God "our Father." It is this intimate father/child relationship that makes prayer possible. As children of God we come to His throne expectant and unafraid because we are accepted in His beloved Son (Hebrews 4:15-16). Because we are His children, we can come often to speak with our Heavenly Father for He delights to hear our prayers!

Hallowed be Thy name.

Worship--to honor and adore God--is the highest privilege of the Christian. We who have experienced the miracle of His saving grace can praise Him for His greatness and love. Throughout the day we can offer praise and thanksgiving as He showers us with His blessings. "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name... Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (1 Chronicles 16:29).

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.

As God's children, we long for His righteous reign throughout the earth. But His reign first must begin in our own lives. We are made sensitive to His will for us as we prayerfully read and meditate on the Word of God. Even as we pray God exposes our spiritual condition and brings our desires into conformity with His will (Romans 12:2).

From these first three petitions the Lord Jesus teaches that God's glory and kingdom must have preeminence in our prayers and lives. God promises those who put Him first: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

Give us this day our daily bread.

We are dependent upon God for all our needs--spiritual and material. And, like any loving Father, He desires to richly bless us. Nothing is too great for His power; nothing is too small for His love. He invites us to share the most intimate details of our life with Him. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

As we speak with our loving Father and read His Word, we realize that He expects us to be gracious to others (Ephesians 4:32). But how often unforgiveness and other unconfessed sin hinder our communion with God. Confession of sin is necessary for God must cleanse our hearts before He can hear and answer our prayers (Isaiah 59:2). By quickly confessing our sins, our fellowship with God is restored. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

The Lord has promised to protect his children in the hour of temptation: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will, with the temptation, also make the way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Let us therefore pray for wisdom to see His "way of escape."

As we learn to pray to the Father, we enter into the glorious doxology which closes our Lord's prayer:

For Thine is the kingdom...

We know that God has control over all matters; we can entrust our deepest needs to Him.

And the power...

He has the power to accomplish all we ask (Ephesians 3:20).

And the glory, forever. Amen.

We worship Him as the All-Mighty One, the Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift" (James 1:17).

This is how the Lord taught His disciples to pray. And by His example He showed them the need for time alone with the Father in prayer.

We too must set aside time to talk with God and read His Word. Many Christians find that the morning is the best time for this. The following are suggestions for your time with God.

PRAYER GUIDELINES

  1. Necessity of Prayer. Our Lord taught that prayer is not an option--something to do when we "feel like it"--it is a God-given responsibility. Few of us "find time" to pray; we must make the time (Ephesians 5:16).
  2. The Bible. The Bible and prayer go hand in hand. Pray as you read, and meditate on God's Word as you pray. As you read the Bible, praise God for what He reveals of Himself and pray for strength and wisdom to obey His commands. What you read will give fresh insight as you pray for yourself and others. Try using the prayers of the Bible as patterns. Matthew 6:9-13; Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21 and the Psalms are excellent inspirations.
  3. Prayer List. A list of prayer requests reminds you of specific needs and will keep your mind from wandering. By recording how God has answered a request, you will be encouraged to keep praying. But don't let this steal your spontaneity. You are praying to a Person, not compiling a list!
  4. Prayer Partner. To help you pray consistently, ask the Lord for a friend with whom you can share and pray. Meeting regularly provides mutual encouragement.
  5. Distractions. Because prayer is spiritual warfare, Satan will try to distract you. Ask God to help you pray regularly and He will direct you. If you have trouble with wandering thoughts, try changing positions, praying aloud, consulting a prayer list and your Bible, singing a hymn or whatever you find most effective. But whatever you do, pray!

2002-2004 Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
Translated by permission of Good News Publishers
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