How Do You Pray?
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. . . . He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. Matthew 26:39, 42
A lot of people claim to pray. Some pray when things go badly and some when things are good. Some think prayer is supposed to be like an ATM machine. Just insert a little petition and push the right buttons, and out comes what you wanted.
Jesus is, of course, our best example of prayer. First, we must observe that His prayer is simply a conversation with His Father. You can study all of Jesus’ prayers, and you will observe the same. Prayer is simply a conversation with our Heavenly Father.
So, if prayer is just a conversation with our Heavenly Father, then we need to consider who He is. Who are we really talking to? The I Am, the Creator of all things. This establishes what our attitude should be before Him. Great reverence should be our attitude.
So now, let’s consider how we came to be able to converse with the God of all creation. In our sinful condition we could not even approach the presence of God. How did we get to be able to converse with God? Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:19-22. This also informs our attitude in prayer. It was very costly for Him to provide for us.
How could we ever imagine to think prayer is just for times when things are bad and we need help? How could we think that prayer is some kind of ATM? We should consider our Lord and His prayer while on this earth. What did He pray for? How did He pray?
First and foremost, we’ll start with addressing our Heavenly Father. He is our Father, and He wants us to approach Him as such. He loves us and wants to hear from us. All the time, not just when things are bad. He wants to have ongoing fellowship with us.
Second, we need to understand what Jesus prayed for. He always sought His Father’s will. This is where many of God’s people go wrong. They come to God with all sorts of requests, and even demands, but are not truly seeking God’s will. It is good to bring our request to Him, but we must be willing to seek His will.
And lastly, gratitude. Not just for the times we received what we asked, but for every time because God’s will is always best. Gratitude for the privilege of entering His presence. Gratitude every time, all the time. What a great privilege we have in prayer, but also a great responsibility.