Prayer is a subject discussed in many Christian circles, but how to pray and what is acceptable tends to be the area they have different view points on. This is my attempt to show you, as always, through Scripture the way I feel is the best way to pray. Though I will not say anyone’s form of prayer is right or wrong, we can examine The Word and truths in Jesus’ Word on how we should pray. God does not put anyone’s prayer above anyone else’s - we are all equal in His eyes. Psalm 102:17 - "He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer."
For starters, I always begin my prayers with, “Dear Lord God…..” and end them with “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” This adheres to a major rule that Jesus taught us - that no one gets to the Father but through Me (John 14:6). I take that rule very serious and apply it to how I pray, which also is backed by this scripture: John 16:23-24 - “… Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Another good area to examine is praying specifically, that is, being as exact and precise with your words as possible. For example, one could say a broad prayer asking God to end world hunger, or you could take it a step further and pray specifically for the countries and/or regions with the biggest food shortage issue, by knowing more about the cause. Another example, maybe at work someone would tell you, “Hey! Just pray for Jack today, ok?” I can definitely do that and ask God to wave His hand and heal any issues “Jack” has, but if you know specifically what Jack is dealing with, you can pray more directly on the issue. This is not to say any way of prayer is right or wrong, and definitely not to say God won’t do anything about an issue if you don’t pray specifically, but Scripture backs the idea of praying specifically, so their definitely is something to the idea of being as specific as possible:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
2 blind men heard Jesus was passing by, “Lord, have mercy on us,” they cried. Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, open our eyes,” they replied. Only then, Jesus healed their sight.
Praying specifically also increases your faith and understanding, and emphasizes our dependence and intimacy with God, and helps us define our needs, and also realize just how blessed we are when we sometimes lose sight of it. For example, often in prayer I have asked God for something and soon have heard myself saying something like, “No, that’s not it exactly. It’s not that, but this other thing I really need.” For example, “Lord, bless me” won’t lead me to recognize that I don’t need a raise as much as I need to say no to buying more stuff, or that maybe I don’t need a new co-worker but the wisdom, love and humility to resolve my conflicts with the one I have. But, do not be confused - God wants you to ask for that raise too! And He wants to give it to you! He wants to see us prosper and be happy through Him.
Now lets examine another matter of prayer that I feel worth noting, but please know that in no way am I bashing another religion or their beliefs - I will always reference the Bible and test everything to The Word. Lets take a look at some Scriptures before continuing:
“… Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathens do.For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
The topic I am leading to with this is being careful of whom you pray directly to. Scripture makes it clear that we are to pray to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray to Mother Mary or that, though being the mother of Christ, was even worthy of hearing prayers and delivering them to God. Nor does the Bible say to pray to any Saints who have passed away. What about angels? Many believe that since angels are heavenly beings they have the authority to persuade God on our behalf. Though there is no verse in the Bible which explicitly states that you should not pray to angels, the Bible does clearly teach overall that we aren’t to worship angels or pray to them. The Bible dictates only one mediator between humanity and God, and that is Jesus Christ.
As I close this topic, you may start to see a theme going here - that the one true way, the one true method, without a shadow of a doubt, is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Remember, we serve an awesome God who wants to hear ALL of our prayers, all of our wants and desires. He wants you to pray for that new job, for the pay raise, for the bill to be paid, for that friendship to be mended, for you to rock that interview, for peace - I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Fix your mind, body, and soul on Him, and seek Him wholeheartedly.