Summary: An alarming truth is that prayer today is not what Jesus taught prayer must be. Discover the 11 points that Jesus taught about prayer.
An alarming truth is that prayer today is not what Jesus taught prayer must be. Not only does this make the prayers being said today fake but until you bring your prayers in line with Jesus’ teaching, your prayers are a continuous rebellion against Jesus.
What should your prayers be like? The answer is as close as the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is part of a lesson on prayer that Jesus gave.
What is the lesson?
First, Jesus made two preliminary points about prayer.
i. Prayer is not a public thing. Unfortunately, in most churches and with most Christians, prayer is only a public thing. "And when you pray, you will not be as the hypocrites are, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say to you, They have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret will reward you openly." (The Bible for a New Generation - www.bible4ang.com) This is what Jesus taught and this is what Jesus did. Jesus did not go around saying public prayers. No, he got up early in the morning and went to a private place to pray. This is why the disciples had to ask him how to pray. If Jesus had been praying out loud in front of them, they would not have to ask. They could just pray like He prayed in public. But Jesus did not pray in public.
To defend public prayer, some have asked, "What about the upper room?" My response is, "What about the upper room? Do you think they prayed out loud in the upper room?" Did Peter stand up and say, "I will start out in prayer and then we will continue around the circle until everyone has prayed. Then we will do it again and again all day and all night."? I don’t think so.
Because your prayers are always public, you project this image on the Bible and think that in the upper room they prayed your way. Do you think that they did not know this teaching of Jesus? Do you think that they did not follow the example that Jesus set? In the upper room they prayed privately, quietly, each person to himself. This is how prayer should be done in our churches today. An hour or fifteen minutes of prayer should be a part of our church services. Church should be a house of prayer.
ii. The second preliminary point about prayer is that you do not have to add a bunch of words to be heard by God. God knows what you are saying. You don’t have to explain it to Him. You don’t have to plead with Him. You don’t have to pray for a certain length of time. You don’t have to use special words or phrases. Just talk to God as if He were standing right next to you.
How to pray (or what you talk about when you talk with God).
1. Contemplate the sacredness of God’s name. Prayer is a time to realize that God is not you or even close to you. Even His name is on a level far above you. Your prayers should not try to bring God down to your level but should raise your awareness of God up to His sacred level. "If you will look for the LORD your God, you will find Him, if you look for Him with all your heart and soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).
2. Make God king. The world does not revolve around you. It does not revolve around Hollywood or Washington either. It revolves around God. Bringing God’s kingdom to this earth involves first bringing it to you. You must make God king of everything. Prayer is a time for you to explore the areas where God is not king and what you can do to fix it. It also involves see how much God actually does control. Are you worried about something? Use prayer to see that God is in control and He will do what is best. God’s government works in this world in ways that are not seen and will not be seen until Jesus comes. Prayer is a time to explore God’s government and trust it.
3. Ask what God wants. You know what you want but do you know what God wants? Prayer is a time to ask God what He wants and consider what He wants in every situation.
4. Listen for God’s daily morsels. There is so much more to know than what is in the Bible. God wants to teach you every day. Prayer is a time when you listen for that thing that God wants to teach you that day.