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  • Writer's pictureRefinery Church

How to pray? The biblical model for prayer.

women praying

As believers, it should be no surprise that prayer is considered important in the Christian community. In our worship gatherings prayer covers everything we do. We pray before service, at the beginning of service, after worship, before the message, after the message, at the end of service. It is clear that prayer can a special place in the life of the believer, but the real question is, why do we pray at all?

Why do we pray? What do we pray about? Who are we praying to? When should we pray? How long should we pray for? These are all questions that even devoted Christians have, and more often than not, are too embarrassed to ask. The good news however, is that this does not have to be a mystery. Jesus himself gives us a clear and easy way to pray that he commands all believers to partake in. This simple prayer can be found in Matthew 6:5-13.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Before Jesus ever actually begins to lay out what a pray should look like, He addresses a few things that would have been important to the original audience listening to Him preach. The first was to don't pray to man, pray to God

Don't pray to man, pray to God

Among those listening to Jesus preach were the Pharisees, a group of devote religious Jews. These men were infamous for their performances when it came to prayer. They made a habit of praying to gain attention, rather than to communicate with God. This was something that Jesus was not happy about. He made it clear that god desires for you to come to Him in pray for no other reason than Him.

In the prayer itself, Jesus continues to expand on this idea. the first aspect of prayer that He communicates through the "Lord's Prayer" is that when we pray, we should know who we are praying to.

Know who you are praying to

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus opens His prayer with "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name." Our posture in prayer must start with humbly coming in front of our creator. God created us and continues to provide for us. He is the good Father that we come to with our needs. This is our posture for prayer because this is who we are praying to.

Once we are in this posture we can actually begin praying, and that begins by aligning with God's will.

Pray for God's will, before your own

When you have truly submitted to God and come to Him in a posture that aligns with the reality that you are speaking to the creator of the universe, it is vital that we begin by asking God to help us to do His will in our lives.

This goes beyond just going to church services and serving in the nursery, it is giving up your fleshly desires and replacing them with God's will in your life. Pray for God to not only help you live inside His will, but to also help you understand His will as well.

Pray for your needs, not your wants

Matthew 6:11 says "give us this day our daily bread." This is for us to pray for our daily needs to be met. God desires to meet our needs. Later in Matthew 6, Jesus confirms this about His Father. God desires to take care of His children, but this does not mean He will supply us with our wants and desires as well.

When we pray, we should come to the Lord asking for Him to provide our needs as well as showing us what our needs might be.

Pray for a soft and discerning heart

Jesus concludes this prayer with a request that God forgive us of our sins as well as helping us to forgive others. Our spiritual life depends on our confession. We need to align with God and pray that He forgives us of our sinful nature.


Want to learn more about prayer? Check out these recommended resources.


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