So in the past week, I’ve been going over various ways and ideas on how to pray. Today I want to share with you what the Bible says about prayer.
Hop over to my Facebook page to see the series on Prayer with all of this information plus the short videos.
First I want you to know that God has drawn near and He desires for us to draw near to Him. Richard Foster beautifully states,
He is inviting you–me–to come home, to come home to where we belong, to come home to that for which we were created. His arms are stretched out wide to receive us… For too long we have been in a far country: a country of noise and hurry and crowds… And he welcomes us home…Richard Foster
There are lots of passages that talk about prayer in the Bible and also many examples of prayers in fact there is a whole book of prayers which we call the Psalms.
Prayer is simply having a conversation with God. I’m currently reading through Chronicles and throughout the book, you constantly see, “they called upon the name of the Lord…” for help, wisdom, guidance, strength, and to praise Him.
Prayer is one of the ways we declare to God that we know He cares for us and we trust in His almighty, wise, and good ways. In the garden of Gethsemane we hear Jesus utter these words of surrender:
Your will be done.Matthew 26:42
Prayer is a way to quiet our hearts and minds and listen to what He has to say to us. It reminds me of the verse in Psalms 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.
In prayer we allow our Heavenly father to sing over us as stated in Zephaniah 3:17.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Is there a specific bodily position, time, or place to pray?
Throughout the Bible we see His people come before Him in various ways. From the beginning in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve are walking and talking to Him. In the Old Testament, God required a specific way, person, and ritual to enter into His presence. We see David and the people of God sing some of their prayers in 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles. In other places we find them bowing down, kneeling, sitting, hands lifted up…
There are also various passages that have people praying at all times of the day in various places whether it’s in the midst of a battle, early in the morning, in a dark prison cell, in the wilderness, on the road, at home, in the temple, tabernacle, on the cross, in the midst of temptation…
So I think it’s safe to say there are many forms of approaching Him, at any time of the day anywhere we find ourselves.
Is prayer a private matter?
There is the passage in Matthew 6:5-8 that asks us to close the door but there are also numerous passages where you see corporate prayer happening in both the old and new testament. I was just reading how King Jehosophat calls on his people to come together to fast and pray and throughout the book of Acts we read how they gathered to pray and praise together as a group.
We also see Jesus praying in public and in private when he pulls away from the crowd to pray (Luke 5:16). Then in Luke 9:28 Jesus prays with others.
We are left with various ways to pray to Him either with the body of Christ or in private.
What things do we pray for and how do we pray?
God has made us all unique individuals that for anyone to say there is only one way to pray is like saying there is only one way to love.
But we do see various scriptures that tell us some things about what to pray for and how. In Luke 11: 1-4 he is approached by a disciple who asks Jesus to teach him to pray. What Jesus responds with is what’s been called the Lord’s prayer.
Jesus starts off the Lord’s prayer by calling Him Father, honoring God’s name, His will be done, request for provisions, forgiveness, and to be delivered from evil.
Later we see in Luke 22:32 and John 17:9 that Jesus prays for Simon and prays for the world reminding us of the need to intercede on behalf of others.
We are told to pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Pray for our enemies. Mathew 5:44
Pray for the sick. James 5:14
Pray for deliverance from temptation. Matthew 26:41
Pray for a renewed mind. Romans 12:2
Pray for Wisdom. James 1:5
Draw near with confidence. Hebrews 14:6
Pray about everything. Let your request be made known to God. Phil 4:6-7
God Speaks through Prayer
Often we enter into monologues when we pray but God speaks to us through prayer so it’s important to quiet ourselves. But keep in mind that God will never contradict himself so you can always fact-check what you’re hearing, with the Bible. For example, if you hear God saying it’s okay you have an extramarital affair. Well if you fact-check that with the Bible you’ll know that’s not from God. The Bible clearly tells us in Hebrews 13:4 to honor one another in our marriage.
Prayer requires us to have a truthful understanding of God through His word not just experiences or random quotes or Instagram posts. God speaks to us through the Bible so spend some time in His word that way you know if what you’re hearing aligns with His truth.
Finally, I must add that not all of our prayers will be answered in the way that we would like. Sometimes He responds with “Not now! Nope or a resounding “Yes!”. Jesus prayed in the garden to be released from what was about to happen to Him but then we hear him say, “not my will, but yours.”
Prayer is our strength.
Prayer comfort us.
Prayer reminds us of His love and care.
Prayer guides us.
Prayer is our connection to Him.
Prayer is our way to care for and encourage others.
Prayer is one of our greatest weapons.
Prayer is how He speaks to us through His word.