The Bible has given us examples on:
Who we pray to and for? What we pray? Where we pray? When we pray? And Why we pray?
The final question for us to look at is: How do we pray?
God’s Word isn’t silent on this either. Below are verses that show us examples of how to pray. I’ve used mostly the NLT and NKJV. The verses are in no particular order and as always, my comments are in [brackets].
…Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
[We are to be alert and persistent in prayer. It’s easy to pray once for someone and then let it go. But that isn’t what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to be persistent and keep at it.]
1 Timothy 2:8
…I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
[I picture men basking in God’s light, overwhelmed by His presence. If that doesn’t describe your prayer-life right now, keep it in your mind as something to work toward. Build up to this image slowly. If there are “things” getting between you and God, work on letting them go. This verse gives the image of men baring all to God, not hiding, arms are thrown wide saying “Here I am God…hear me…see me…all of me…” It’s a call to prayer.]
…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
[We are to pray earnestly. Dictionary.com defines earnest as ‘serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous’. This is how we are to pray, with intent and purpose.]
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
[Be persistent. If you are praying for good gifts from God like wisdom, understanding, spiritual growth, you will receive what you ask for if you are persistent. If you pray to win the lottery? Don’t hold your breath! God determines the good gifts for His children and what this world thinks of as “good” isn’t necessarily what God views as good. Be persistent in prayer, no matter what you decide to pray for. You will receive an answer one way or another.]
“All right,” Moses replied. “As soon as I leave the city, I will lift my hands and pray to the LORD…”
[Another example of the lifting of hands to pray. We are creatures of habit and once we learn one way to do something we tend to stick to it. Many people were taught to bow their heads in prayer and fold their hands. This isn’t wrong, but there are other acceptable ways to pray too.]
1 Samuel 1:13
Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard…
[Some people believe that a person must voice their prayers out loud to be heard by God but the Bible gives us an example of silent prayer. God hears you no matter if you talk loudly or softly or not at all. The Bible also lets us know that sometimes when we just don’t know what to pray, that the Holy Spirit will pray for us!]
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father who sees everything will reward you.
[How should we pray? With a mind and heart solely focused on God, our Father. Yes, you can pray with other people; yes, you can pray anywhere and at any time. Just make sure that the reason you are praying isn’t for attention or show. Make sure the reason you are praying is to be in that relationship with God because you want to be there with Him, not because you “have to” because others are watching. If you find yourself only coming to God in prayer when other people are around or only at church or small group, never by yourself, you should follow this verses example and go away by yourself, shut the door and pray.]
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
[Here’s the word ‘alert’ again. Sometimes I will be praying right before bed and I’ll actually fall asleep in prayer. Probably not the most respectful thing to do and definitely not praying with the most ‘alert mind’ either. I’m sure He understands and gets a chuckle out of it. God created everything so I have to assume He created our senses of humor as well! Being thankful is an easy one for me. At our house when we say goodbye to one another as we’re heading off to work and school it goes something like this, “Love you, see you later…miracles!” We usually say “Love you” just in case something happens and those are the last words our family will hear from us. Sounds morbid but truly, I don’t want my last words to someone to be, “Yeah whatever, see ya”. We say “see you later” for the hope of returning home safely, God willing. And we tack on “miracles” as a reminder to ‘be alert’ and look for God’s hand working in our lives every day. Do we consciously think all that when we say, “Love you, see you later, miracles” or “Love you, miracles, bye”? Nope. But it’s become a habit for us. Be thankful when praying to God. If nothing else, He gives you breath.]
I hope this series on prayer gave enough examples from God’s Word to answer most questions that come up about praying.
There is no right way or wrong way to talk to God, as long your talking from your heart.
that God, the source of hope,
will fill you completely with joy and peace
because you trust in Him.
Then you will overflow with confident hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.