Prayer is... the act of conversing or communicating with God.
As Christians, we pray to God as our father. We pray with respect, but not with formality as if we were addressing the Queen. Prayer to God should be a lot more familiar, just like we would ask our earthly father, not necessarily laid down on our hands and knees with eyes up facing heaven.
Because God is our father, we can go and talk to him, boldly, and needn't be afraid to talk to Him about anything;
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
- Hebrews 4.16
There are examples within the bible where prayer with God has resulted in a move in His hand; for example, when Abraham spoke to Him about having mercy in His judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18), but the real purpose of prayer is to change our hearts as we learn to trust Him, obey Him and build a relationship with Him.
Prayer is TO THE FATHER through the Son;
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”
-1 Timothy 2.5
This means that apart from Jesus, prayers are ineffective. And we pray by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11.1, 13 and Galatians 4.6)
- In faith – “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21.22) God has three answers, Yes, No, and Later.
- Succinctly, with clarity – “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.” (Matthew 6.7)
- In God’s will – “…if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16.23-24)
- Humbly (Luke 18)
- Fervently – “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,” (Luke 18.1) It keeps us hoping, it maintains a willingness to learn and be teachable
- Those who sin against you and help to forgive them – “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” (Mark 11.25)
- Your needs – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (Matthew 7.7-8)
- Against temptation – “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26.41)
- Evangelists, church planters and campus pastors – “Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9.37-38)
Where did Jesus pray?
Who did Jesus pray for?
How did Jesus pray?
- With scripture (Matthew 27.46 – Psalm 22.1)
- Long, silent prayers (Luke 6.12)
- Short prayers (Mark 6.41)
- Painful prayers (John 12.27-28)
- Right up to the end (Luke 23.46)
* As a side note from me (this isn't part of my notes) I sometimes find it easier to write/type out prayers if I have a long list of stuff to pray for. I did find however that if it had been a couple of days/weeks since I'd typed a prayer I'd start feeling guilty and we shouldn't feel like we have to pray. It's easier to think like this; If Jesus was a close friend of yours, you'd want to talk Him regularly, meet up for lunch, spend some time just hanging out, telling Him what's going on in your life etc. It isn't that He doesn't already know, it's that you want to share it with Him because He's a friend.