How to Pray

by pastortimfowler

I am often asked by the new Christians in our church about prayer. I feel good about this since Jesus had His disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray. I know that there are several opinions about prayer out there and I am not writing a thesis, I am writing a blog, so be kind.
Last night we started a men’s Bible study about taking 7 steps closer to God and the first part of it was about prayer. The statement is that to get closer to God our prayers must honor Him. So I looked for scripture that specifically said ‘this prayer honored God” and the closest I came was this:
Luke 18:9-14 (GW)
9 Jesus also used this illustration with some who were sure that God approved of them while they looked down on everyone else.
10 He said, “Two men went into the temple courtyard to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people! I’m not a robber or a dishonest person. I haven’t committed adultery. I’m not even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my entire income.’
13 “But the tax collector was standing at a distance. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he became very upset, and he said, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
14 “I can guarantee that this tax collector went home with God’s approval, but the Pharisee didn’t. Everyone who honors himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be honored.”

So I subscribe to the K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Simply confessing to God that we are sinners and asking for mercy honors God more than prayers of telling God how good we are. ALL have sinned and ALL continue to sin no matter how hard we try not to. The Bible says that if we say we have no sin we make God a liar.
Humility is very difficult for people who think that they are special. God’s people are special, but not based on what we do, but based on what Christ did to make us special. Approaching God with a list of accomplishments says look at me. Approaching God not even feeling worthy to be in His presence says that we know that He is Holy and we are not.
The other prayers that I see God honored by are prayers for the souls of others. In Exodus 32:31,32, Moses told God that if He would not forgive the people who Moses himself did not want to live. That honors God. In Genesis 18:9-14, Abraham prayed for God to spare Sodom, a very perverted and sinful city and kept asking God to seek fewer and fewer reasons to destroy them and God never quit saying yes to the request of mercy.
I believe that prayers for the sick, safety for those in harm’s way, and blessings for good works all have a time and a place in our prayer time. But if we are not focused on the forgiveness of sin, then we are not praying a prayer of priority nor are we honoring God in our prayers.
So, if you and when you pray, first learn from the sinner who cried out for mercy and had Jesus say, ‘I like that prayer’ and learn from the times when God was swayed from punishing sin by the prayer of a person who was seeking salvation for others ahead of their own wants and desires.
That is how you pray.

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One Comment to “How to Pray”

  1. what a great way to start my day with a blog on prayer. thanks Pastor Tim.

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