When You Pray

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Teach us to Pray.

When we pray, not if we pray, we do have a protocol to follow. Those who have an audience with a national president, king or queen, or other high government official, are instructed in the protocols expected. God has also given us instructions in the Bible on approaching him.

When you pray

Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.

But when you pray

Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

And when you pray

Do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:5-8

To summarize: Find a private place to speak with God and get to the point. Speak from your heart to God. There is no special spiritual language needed because God knows the heart. Jesus began his days in private prayer early in the morning even before daylight.

This is not a prohibition against all public prayer. Jesus prayed before crowds. Believers prayed together. The prohibition is against insincere prayers as self-exaltation.

This is not a prohibition against repeating a deeply felt prayer. Jesus prayed three times before his crucifixion that another way be found. But he accepted the answer. Paul prayed three times his "thorn in the flesh" be removed, but he accepted the answer.

Jesus also gave a prayer outline so we could know how to pray according to God's will. The following quotation is from The Living Bible, Matthew 6:9-13:

Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name.
We ask that your kingdom will come now.
May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.
Give us our food again today, as usual,
And forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
Don't bring us into temptation,
But deliver us from the Evil One.

The primary protocol consists of faith, humility and sincerity, not following a script.

Unlike human authorities, God always has time for his children. He is always eager to hear us express our faith in his power to grant our requests and to receive our gratitude for all his provision. Prayer isn't "brain surgery" or "rocket science". Prayer is conversation with our heavenly Father who has an open invitation to all those who believe in and accept his Son Jesus (John 16:23-28).

Volume 14 Issue 05 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation

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