Prayer 101- The Basic Principles of a Prayer; A study

Prayerlighthouse's picture

The basic principles Jesus gives us are in Mat. 6:6(NIV) -"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."

Here we see five (5) principles for a prayer.

1. Make time to pray - "when you pray"
2. Have a place to pray - "go into your room"
3. Have privacy - "close the door"
4. Pray to God only - "pray to your Father" (Specific Person-why? People pray to other idols and gods). "Our Father in Heaven" Matthew 6:9
5. God will answer prayer - "Then your Father will reward you"

We should consider Jesus Christ lessons about prayer very carefully. The verse of Mat 6:6 Jesus' teaches us that to conduct our personal prayer is simple and concise. He teaches the necessity to bring our request to God, and assures us His willingness to hear and answer our prayers.

Jesus later said to His disciples in John 16:24 - "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."

On my next post I will discuss the questions many people have "What God expect from our prayers".

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JeffLogan's picture

The "Lord's Prayer" as our model prayer

What has become commonly known as the Lord's Prayer could more properly be called the Model Prayer for Jesus said, "After this manner therefore pray ye." The prayer of our Lord can be found in John 17. So let's look at this model prayer in more detail. Moises began with some good thoughts which I may borrow from. Since this has been dormant for some time I hope he doesn't mind if I step out on my own.

Matthew 6

Jesus began with some principles:

Do not pray in public to be heard of men

    Verse 5 ...when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.

Pray to be heard of God

    Verse 6 ...when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret;

Don't simply utter memorized prayers

    Verse 7 ...when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

God already knows what we need

    Verse 8 ...Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

The Lord's Prayer

    Verse 9 and following ...After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,

We are to think of God as our Father in Heaven and address Him as such.

    Hallowed be thy name.

We are to prepare our hearts and minds to come before Him with respect and an attitude of worship.

    Thy kingdom come,

We are reminded that this world is passing away and we are to prepare ourselves by God's grace to enter into the coming kingdom.

    Thy will be done

This should be the desire of all men's hearts; that God's will be done. Whether taught by example, or by principle, or through His law, a heart at one with God will desire above all things that His will be done. This should be our attitude at all times but especially in prayer. It involves laying aside our selfish motives and agenda to accept God's will as ours.

    in earth, as it is in heaven.

It should be our desire that God's will be carried out, not only in heaven, but also in this world, in our time, in our lives. As free moral agents, allowed to choose whom we will serve, we must daily choose to allow God's will to be lived out in our lives. And that atmosphere of humble, willing, obedience is breathed by all who come in contact with us as the breath of life.

    Give us this day our daily bread.

Not only are we dependent upon God to supply all our needs but we must trust Him to fulfill His promise to us that He will provide. This statement is not so much as request as it is a restatement of Gods promise and and acknowledgement on our parts that we believe His promise and trust in Him for all our needs. Yet, implied is life sustaining bread of both the physical kind and the spiritual--for both are necessary to us. Having asked, we must believe that we have received, and must then proceed to partake of that daily bread--both the physical and the spiritual. Both have been promised to us by God.

    And forgive us our debts,

Perhaps this phrase has been mostly understood that we are asking God to forgive us of any sins which we have either neglected to repent of or are unaware of at the time of this request. How many times have I heard people pray, "Forgive my sins" or, "our sins" in public prayer. Yet, in giving this model prayer Jesus instructed us to enter into a private place and pray to God in secret. The forgiveness of sin involves repentance and one cannot repent without remorse. Neither can we summon this from within; godly repentance comes from God. We have been far too casual in repenting of known sin. We can only truly repent when we yield to God's prompting and then it must be of a very specific nature. We must openly and freely admit our sin by identifying them and acknowledging them as sin. A blanket "forgive my sins" will never be accepted. Confession must address the sin and name it so that in condemning ourselves we may understand our guilt and truly feel remorse.

So if godly repentance involves specific sins this request cannot suffice. Therefore, perhaps it is also intended to remind us that forgiveness of sin is obtained only from God for it is God whom we have sinned against. And contained in this request is the reminder that "we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

    as we forgive our debtors.

If we have not the attitude of forgiveness ourselves then we do not have forgiveness ourselves. Forgiveness comes from God. It is not a human attribute but a Divine. If we do not possess the attitude of forgiveness toward others then we do not have God's spirit dwelling in us. For God is merciful and long-suffering. And if God's spirit does not dwell in us then we have not received of His life and remain in our dead state.

This is a reminder that those who forgive others a small debt have received pardon from God of their huge debt.

    And lead us not into temptation,

Scripture says that God does not tempt any man. So this request cannot be understood as literally as it is written. This request should be understood in the context that we are drawn away and lead into temptation by our own lust. The prayer then is to remember that when we are tempted God will provide a way of escape. We do not need to yield to temptation when we can lean on God's strength. If we try to resist in our weakness we will fail. This prayer reminds us not to trust to self but to trust to God to help us overcome the temptation... to use the means of escape He provides.

    but deliver us from evil:

To be delivered from evil is something we all expect in the future world. Yet here we learn that Jesus wants us to ask to be delivered from evil when we pray. Is He merely speaking of a future deliverance from evil? Or, is He speaking of protection from the effects of evil perpetrated by others in this life? Or, could it be this is a prayer to deliver us here and now from the influence of evil such that we ourselves practice and do no evil. Paul writes in Ephesians that we are not saved by our works, but rather by grace through faith. But in Titus he speaks of saving grace in these terms: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."

So Paul understood that saving grace actually teaches us to shun evil in our present world. In light of this I would suggest that when Jesus told us to pray for deliverance from evil, He was actually instructing us to reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive unto God. In other words, we ought to pray that we may do righteously avoiding, even eschewing evil.

As it is written:

    1 Peter 3:8-11

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another,
love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing;
knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil,
and his lips that they speak no guile:
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

Let us not only pray to be delivered from the presence of evil but also the influence so that we may live holy lives.

    For thine is the kingdom,

Here we acknowledge that everything belongs to God. It's good to know that He owns everything when we understand His beneficence toward mankind. We can trust Him to care for us and to look after our well-being. Let's not work at odds with His purposes by taking more than our portion of anything in this life and thereby place ourselves in compromising circumstances which cause us to doubt His watchfulness and care.

    and the power,

When Jesus mentions power He is speaking of ALL power. God does not derive power from another source. He is the source of all power. God is not dependent upon anyone or anything to provide His power; He is The Power. Here we acknowledge that God is more than able to do, of His own power, all things He has promised to do.

    and the glory,

If not for God we would have but a dim understanding of goodness. Our concept of goodness would be based on whatever pleased our senses. But all glory belongs to God and in comprehending His character as expressed to us in nature and revelation we catch a glimpse of His Divine nature perfectly balanced with justice and mercy. If it were not for God's revelation of His glory, first in His law, and then in the life of Jesus, our concept of love for one another would necessarily be shaped by our selfish experiences.

    for ever. Amen.

Here, at the closing of this prayer, we acknowledge the perpetuity of all that has come before--our Heavenly Father, His holiness, His kingdom, His will, His beneficence in provide for our needs, His mercy to forgive, His power to save from evil, and His glory. His kingdom is from eternity and will never end. Thus, we have in this closing remark a rock upon which we can fasten our eternal hopes. Because He is forever, we can find rest for our souls. "Amen." This is truth!

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    "Where two or three are gathered together in my name,
    there am I in the midst of them." Voilà! Church!
    (Matt 18:20 (KJV))

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV