Praying 101

Learning About Life Changing Prayer

The activity of prayer is a human pursuit that crosses nearly all social, economic, geographic and religious boundaries. Billions of people of all ages, from diverse cultures all over the world, do it every day—hoping to gain access to supernatural power that would help meet various, needs, whether large or small.

Do you find the prospect of regular, consistent prayer time overwhelming? Are you confused or concerned that you may not be doing it right? Do you feel that you don’t know enough about it at all? Would you like your prayers, and those of your family members and church community, to have an enormous impact?

 

They can! 
 

And the benefits will flow powerfully into your personal life and circumstances as well. If prayer is still an intimidating arena for you, here are a few simple tools to help you learn how. Always keep in mind God’s love for you, and that He desires a close relationship with you through prayer. He will help you develop in your Pray Kidability to pray more effectively … just having a willing heart makes all the difference.

Jesus’ Model

In Luke 11, when one of Jesus’ disciples asked to be taught how to pray, He presented a guide to effective prayer that can still help us all today.

“When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one” (Luke 11:2-4, NKJV).
 

Based on what Jesus’ model, here are some guiding principles:

  1. Remember others when you pray.
  2. Take time to praise God.
  3. Pray for His kingdom to come.
  4. Pray with a willingness to accept His will.
  5. Pray for your daily needs.
  6. Ask and offer forgiveness readily.
  7. Be alert to temptation.

Remember others when you pray.

As believers, or people who have a personal relationship with Jesus, when we come into the presence of God, our hearts are prepared for prayer with impact when we pause to acknowledge His love and acceptance of us through Christ as His very own sons and daughters. It is our privilege to call Him “Father.” If your own relationship with your father was a difficult or painful one, or if you have never known your biological father, you can ask Him to heal the pain and the sense of loss that can distort how you view God’s revelation of Himself as “Father.” Ask Him to reveal His love and care for you and to help you understand and appreciate the true essence of what being His child means. 

And using the word “our” reminds us that we are part of a larger family, all of whom have needs we should remember as well. (Click here if you feel you do not yet have a personal relationship with Christ and would like to become a follower.) 

Take time to praise God.

Praising Him as our Father also helps us to remember His power and His greatness—that ultimately, only He possesses the ability to meet all of our needs—and those of the people we pray for.

Pray for His kingdom to come.

God’s heartbeat is for the entire world to understand the purpose for which His Son came, and for each one to accept Him. One of the ways He wants us to partner with Him consistently in this task is through prayer. 

Jesus’ final words to His disciples, as recorded in each of the gospels, instruct them to take the gospel into all the world. 

Lives are transformed as people receive Christ, and burdens are lifted as each one seeks to serve and meet the needs of those around them. As you pray for His kingdom to come, you help pave the way for this to happen!

Pray with a willingness to accept His will.

One of the greatest gifts we can give back to God is our genuine trust. We are invited to come to Him with all of our needs, and on behalf of others, but our prayers are most powerful when we come to Him in humility and faith, trusting that He will do what is right and best in the circumstances we bring before Him. A trusting mindset helps us to sense His peace, and also opens the way for Him to communicate to us what He might want us to do as a part of the plan for His answer.

Pray for your daily needs.

Jesus encourages us to ask for help daily. Each day is a new gift, bringing unique joys, challenges and needs. God wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him, and to regularly remember that everything we need—including food, shelter, clothing, health, strength, and patience with various challenges—comes from Him. He again encourages us to remember others’ needs by His use of the term “our.”

Ask and offer forgiveness readily.

Prayer is most powerful when there is no interference in our communication channel with God. As believers, we live under God’s grace, but He asks us to remember to confess our sins to Him—whether conscious or inadvertent—on a regular basis. This regular confession should not be from a position of fear or condemnation, but from wanting to receive His cleansing and help to avoid repeating the same pattern, so we can be more like Him. He also gently reminds us that we are also to forgive others for the wrongs—deliberate or unintentional—that they may have done to us. If we don’t, we actually hinder His ability to forgive us (Matthew 6:14,15; Matthew 18:35).

Be alert to temptation.

Jesus wants us to be alert to those things or activities which can possibly hinder our relationship with God— before we begin to engage with or participate in them. We become powerful intercessors when we regularly ask for His help to recognize dangers, protect us from them and help us escape them before they overcome us. The Bible teaches us the ways we can also protect ourselves from our enemy’s tricks and traps (Ephesians 6:10-18). 

These basic principles have been tested and proved golden for generations of believers. 

God cares deeply about your needs, as well as the needs of others who may be on your heart and mind. We hope that you are encouraged in your prayer life, and that you will be awed by powerful answers to your requests and petitions to our Father for yourself, on behalf of your family and community, and for our world.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
According to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, forever and ever!
Amen.” —Ephesians 3:20,21, NIV
 

Five Finger Prayer 

The prayer needs in our own lives and in the world around us are tremendous, and can seem overwhelming. To help simplify prayer priorities, consider integrating the “Five Finger Prayer” model into your prayer times all year round: 

Five FingersPrayer1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.” 

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers. 

3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the prime minister/president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance. 

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them. 

5. And lastly comes our little finger – the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, ‘The least shall be the greatest among you.’ Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively. 

(Author unknown)

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