Summary: Prayer is crucial to the life of the believer, but so many believers have many, many questions about prayer... so much so that they tend to NOT pray because they are unsure about prayer... Let's look at prayer, what it is and various other questions...
A Study on Prayer: [read Matthew 6:5-13]
Have you struggled with prayer? Does prayer seem like an exercise in eloquent speech that you just don't possess? Does prayer seem to you something reserved for the super spiritual or those called into the ministry of God?
What is prayer? Why do we pray? How are we to pray? Is there a specific formula? What about when we are disappointed with the results of our prayer time? Specifically what should we pray FOR as believers?
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Before looking at what prayer IS, let’s look at what prayer is NOT…
Prayer is not some mysterious practice that’s for only pastors and the super spiritual believer….
Prayer is not your ‘order form’ for God… God is not some sort of cosmic waiter waiting to meet and fulfill your whim and desire.
Prayer is not some spiritual formula or set of specific words that can conjure up God’s action… God will never be impressed because of our eloquence in prayer…
Prayer is simply our communication with God! Prayer is when we talk with God, but another aspect of prayer is when we clear out everything and we intentionally listen for God to speak to our hearts. How many of you have ever thought about that aspect of prayer… prayer is as much about listening for God’s voice as it is expressing ourselves to God.
Prayer is the free and unashamed expression of our soul to the God we profess as Lord and Savior of our life! Prayer should never be contrived and forced… When Christ is Savior and Lord of our life, God has promised that we can come to Him and bare our heart…
Prayer is can be a written prayer OR prayer can be a spontaneous, expression of the heart that is spoken by a believer! But the essence of what true prayer is to God is found in the hearts and attitudes of believers when they pray! Now while I fully believe anyone who prays should use their own words… prayer is more about OUR relationship and attitude of the heart toward God! Prayer is such a very personal action on our behalf in support and love for the God was serve…
Do you have trouble praying? Believe it or not, there are many believers who do… but if prayer is difficult for you… I want you to listen up tonight as I want to help all of us learn some very fundamental precepts about prayer and how when you apply these to your life, it makes prayer so much more real and satisfying in our hearts!
HOW ARE WE TO PRAY?
The first question on prayer that you may have is… “Is there a right ‘position’ for prayer?” Laying face down? Kneeling? Bowing? Standing? Is there a ‘correct’ position for prayer?
When we look at Scripture we come to the conclusion that there is really no one prescribed position for prayer, so we can rest assured that there is NO correct or incorrect posture for prayer.
The focus on these passages we are about to read is NOT the position in which they pray, but THAT they are praying… they reveal the importance of prayer, not the position in which we accomplish that prayer!
When we look into Scripture we find people prayed in all sorts of positions:
• - on their knees (1 Kings 8:45),
• - bowing (Exodus 4:31),
• - standing (1 Kings 8:22).
But preacher, what about when someone prays with their eyes OPEN… isn’t that disrespectful? In our culture we have come to associate closed eyes in prayer equals respect and reverence, but in reality there is nothing special about closing your eyes in prayer… other than for YOUR OWN sake.
Also I might ask you, how do YOU know these people’s eyes were open in prayer, unless yours were too? But seriously, we need to understand open or shut eyes have no serious affect on our prayer… let me go back to the fact that prayer is a personal experience and a matter of the heart!
• I believe you can pray with your eyes opened or closed…
• I believe you can pray either in quiet or out loud
We have all heard pastors and others pray prayers of great eloquence and use words that are beautiful and flowing… but is this necessary? Should I Use Eloquent Words in my prayer? (Thee, thou, thy… King James English)
My answer to you is that God created all language and understands FULLY whatever language you speak. Your prayers need not be wordy or impressive in speech. God hears NOT the words of your prayer but the heart of your prayer!
With that being said, prayer is very solemn act and should NEVER be treated in a flippant or disrespectful manner. So often we find ourselves praying without the reverence of heart that is required when we go before the throne of heaven. God is not looking for special words or any particular ORDER of words, but God is looking for the yearnings and submission of your heart!