I have decided to do this Bible Study on Prayer because there are many questions on the Internet about ¿What is prayer?, and ¿How to pray to God Effectively?. For this reason, we will answer all these questions according to what the Word of God says.
What Does the Bible Say About Repetitive Prayer?
First, it must be clear that “repeating is not praying”. The Lord Jesus Christ refers to this act as a vain wordiness, which God does not listen to (Mt 6:7-8). Because it makes no sense to address Almighty God by repeating something read or memorized.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Mt 6:7-8).
Prayer is a sincere and voluntary action of communication with God. Which, we express with our own words seeking the favor of God. The True Prayer that pleases God is that it is done with reverence (Lk 11:2), with a contrite and humiliated heart that seeks to find Him of truth (Jr 29:13).
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jr 29:12-13).
What is Prayer in the Bible?
Prayer is communication and intimacy with our Heavenly Father. Either to seek his advice (Ex 33:13; Ps 86:11), for a request (Judges 3:9; 2 Sa 22:7; Jr 15:15) or to give thanks (Phil 4: 6; Da 6:10; Col 3:17).
Prayer is source of power for the believer, as we see in the Bible, our greatest example, the Lord Jesus, always sought the face of God in prayer very early in the morning and then it got stronger with his presence, healed sick, resurrected Dead and did many miracles.
As we see it, even when he prays for Lazarus, he gives thanks to the Father for the resurrection of Lazarus before he resuscitates, saying: “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me” (Jn 11:41). Showing how prayer is accompanied by faith. He also teaches how by means of prayer he overcame temptations and even strengthened in what would be the most difficult test (Lk 22:41-44), climb a cross to save a humanity from all its sins, giving his life for the rescue of others (1 Pet 3:18; 1 John 3:16). Even once there, bleeding and with nails in his hands, while receiving mockery, insults and contempt, he prayed for that same world that spit on him, beat him, humiliated him, beat him and preferred to save the life of a thief and not the Only Fair Man who has trod this earth (Lk 23:34).
How to Pray to God Effectively?
Maybe you’re one of those people who says, “I want to learn to pray, but I do not know how to start”. Well the answer is: “The Bible is the only tool that teaches us how to learn to pray to God Effectively”. By read the Bible it frequently, we can find our spiritual guidance in the Scriptures (Ps 119:105). Because in it we find many examples of prayers that teach us, how to ask God according to his will.
Today many people seek help in written prayers to learn to pray. The first disciples in this situation of ¿How to pray to God?, They said to Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11:1).
Jesus Christ, our greatest example, gave us a model of prayer, which is not to repeat, but to teach us to pray correctly. And he told them:
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven (Lk 11:2).
The Lord Jesus in the prayers recorded in the Gospels shows us that he always addressed God as his Father (Mt 11:25, 26:39 Jn 11:41, 12:27-28, 17:1-2, Lc 23:4), thus teaching us that we can approach God in a more intimate way. In the old testament no one dared to call God “Father”. Only Christ did this, the Only Begotten of the Scriptures. In such a way that now we, receiving Him as our Lord and believing in Him, are adopted as children of God (Jn 1:12).
Hallowed be thy name (Lk 11:2).
To sanctify the name of God is to consider it Holy, Sacred, of the highest esteem and respect. As we see it again and again in the Bible, the psalms teach us how to honor and glorify the name of the Lord (Ps 33:41, 48:10, 71:22, 97:12).
Thy kingdom come (Lk 11:2).
When Jesus said the phrase “Thy Kingdom come” to the disciples, he referred to the spiritual kingdom of God. Because Jews thought that the Messiah would restore the physical kingdom of Israel and free them from the Roman yoke (Acts 1:6). The kingdom of heaven is among men from the day the Son of God became as one of us, to die on a cross and to reconcile us to God (Is 9:11, Lk 17:20-21, Mt 4:17 ). And it will be completed when the evil is destroyed and He establishes new heavens and earth (Rev 21:1).
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth (Lk 11:2).
When we pray and say “Thy will be done”, we are asking God for his purposes to be fulfilled in this world as well as in our lives. The Bible teaches us that God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect (Rom 12:2). Although many times we can not understand it. The Scripture says: “His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are better than ours” (Is 55:8-9).
Give us day by day our daily bread (Lk 11:3).
This word makes us recognize that God is not only our sustainer and material provider (Mt 17:24-27; Lk 5:5-6), but also spiritual (Jn 6:51; 1 Co 1:5). But in particular the Lord Jesus always emphasized the importance of spiritual nourishment. “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (Jn 6:27).
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us (Lk 11:4).
Our debt to God was sin, as expressed in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. The Bible teaches us that we must also forgive those who offend us so that we may also be forgiven by God (Mt 6:14-15). By forgiving the offenses of others, God wants to teach us to cleanse our hearts of pride, anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy, envy and all kinds of evil, which ultimately affects us. One of the examples we find in the Bible is the prayer of Jesus when he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). Another example was Stephen prayer before he died, when he said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60).
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil (Lk 11:4).
Jesus is not suggesting with these words that God is the one who leads us to temptation. It simply tells us, that we ask to be delivered from Satan and his deceptions. All Christians face temptations and many are due to the desires of the flesh (James 1:13-14). Sometimes it happens in such a subtle way that we just do not realize what is happening. God has promised us that He will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). But we have to ask him to help us recognize the temptation and give us the strength to face it. Jesus in Matthew 26:41 teaches us that the best way to face temptation is by praying. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Mt 26:41).
Pray with Our Own Words
Finally, you can also pray with your own words, depending on the need of each person. The Lord Jesus left us a model of prayer but this does not stop you from spilling your heart to God and expressing what you feel. The Bible says that the believer has the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, helps us in our weakness and asks as it should (Ro 8:26).