12 STEPS TO PRAYING LIKE JESUS

praying at the crossThe only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them was how to pray.

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1 NLT)

And this is how Jesus replied:

“This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:1-4 NLT)

There’s much to learn from the passage above referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer” as well from what Jesus Himself demonstrated.

12 STEPS TO PRAYING LIKE JESUS

  1. Begin prayer with Praise and worship

“Father, may your name be kept holy.” (Luke 11:2)

In considering why we should praise and worship, we begin to list His attributes and wonderful works: He is great (Psalm 145:3), full of glory (Psalm 138:5), wise and powerful (Daniel 2:20), good (Psalm 107:8), merciful and faithful (Psalm 89:1), One who saves us (Psalm 18:46), keeps His promises (1 Kings 8:56), pardons our sins (Psalm 103:1-3), and so much more!

  1. Pray for God’s will

“May your kingdom come soon.” (Luke 11:2)

Jesus prayed for God’s will: “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

  1.  Pray our Petitions (requests)

“Give us each day the food we need.” (Luke 1:3)

God is a loving Father that wants to answer the prayers of His children. Unlike our earthly parents, God knows everything, is good and only does good (Psalm 119:68).

  1. Pray confessions asking for forgiveness

“…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Luke 11:4)

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1John 1:9 NLT)

Sin is what stands between us and the Father blocking our prayers. But through Jesus we may come boldly to the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

  1. Pray protection from ourselves and from the devil (Spiritual Warfare)

“And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:4 NLT)

We will be tempted by our own sinful desires and the devil.

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NLT)

God gives His followers heavenly weapons to fight temptations and the devil (See: Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6).

  1. Pray for others and with others

Jesus prayed for others: “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.” (Matthew 19:13 NLT)

Jesus prayed with others: “About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.” (Luke 9:28 NLT)

  1. Pray Alone

Jesus prayed alone: “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5:16 NLT)

  1. Pray Regularly

Jesus prayed often: The passage above from Luke states that Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

It’s important to establish a daily time of uninterrupted prayer.

  1. Pray Fervently (heartfelt)

Jesus’ prayers were heartfelt: This is demonstrated clearly in John 17 where Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples, and all believers (at that time and to come).

  1. Pray with Persistence

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.” (Luke 18:1 NLT)

  1. Pray with thanksgiving

Jesus prayed with thanksgiving: “And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it…” (Matthew 26:27 NLT)

It’s important to thank the Lord for who He is and what He does for us.

  1. Pray scripture back to God

Jesus prayed scripture: When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (as stated in Matthew 4:4), He said, “No! The scriptures say,…”

We can pray scripture back to God as well.

Here’s how: Take a particular passage and put it in first person. For example, Psalm 23:1 reads like this:

“The Lord is my shepherd;  I have all that I need.”

You would pray: Thank you, Lord for being my shepherd and taking care of my needs.


WE MUST ACCEPT OUR NEED TO PRAY: Consider how much Jesus depended on prayer. Jesus prayed not only to set an example, but also to teach us that even the Son of God needed to be connected to His Father through prayer.

WE MUST ADMIT OUR NEED TO LEARN: The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Prayer is not a formula or secret code, but one heart talking to another. The best way to learn is to just do it!

Why not start now?

PRAYER: Father God, you are good and all that you do is good. I’m asking You now, as the disciples asked Jesus, to teach me to pray. Please help me establish a daily time to spend with You in prayer, praise, worship and reading Your word. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen!

WHY PRAY IF GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING?

church-red doorsPrayer is perhaps the greatest Christian privilege and perhaps the greatest Christian failure.

I think most Christians would agree that we all need to learn more about prayer and pray more often. So why then don’t we?

Let’s face it—we have some prayer hang-ups.

One major reason we don’t pray better than we do, is that we have questions which lead to uncertainty. Uncertainty affects our faith which in turn affects our prayer life.

Last week we established that prayer requires faith and how to grow in our faith.

(See last post: https://beckielindsey16.com/2015/10/13/prayers-that-go-beyond-the-ceiling/)

One of the questions that can affect our faith is:

Why should we pray in the first place if God already knows everything, including what we’ll ask Him for?

A problem with this line of questioning is it diminishes the purpose of prayer to a simple means to get God to do what we want.

We know what we want and ask God to carry out, and even tell Him the steps He should take to get us there. Or we realize—or fear— that God may have different ideas than what we desire. Now instead of asking, we don’t pray at all.

He knows it all anyway. He probably won’t give me what I want, so I’m not praying. I’ll just let Him do what He’s already going to do.

This is a very passive approach at relating with God. It isn’t really relating. God didn’t create us to be robots and accept everything He arranges, most likely with resentment because we don’t like where He has us headed.

God is so much more! He is seeking an intimate heart to heart relationship with us. Through prayer we experience intimacy with our creator. We see evidence of God’s desire to communicate with us throughout the Bible. 

WHY WE PRAY

GOD COMMANDS US TO PRAY

“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me.” (Jeremiah 29:12, 13, NLT)

GOD REVEALS HIMSELF TO US THROUGH PRAYER

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” (Psalm 143:10, NLT)

GOD INVITES US TO BRING OUR CONCERNS, NEEDS AND BURDENS TO HIM

“Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

GOD GIVES WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THROUGH PRAYER

“If you do not have wisdom, ask God for it. He is always ready to give it to you and will never say you are wrong for asking.” (James 1:5 NLT)

GOD RESPONDS TO THE PRAYERS OF HIS PEOPLE

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16, NLT)

GOD USES HIS POWER AND AUTHORITY TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE THROUGH PRAYER

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22, NLT)

“Anything is possible if a person believes.” (Mark 9:23, NLT)

GOD EXTENDS HIS POWER TO US THROUGH PRAYER SO THAT WE CAN RESIST TEMPTATION

Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Matthew 26:41, NLT)

JESUS PRAYED AS OUR EXAMPLE TO PRAY

“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23, NLT)

To avoid prayer is to live a passive life that doesn’t allow God into the deep desires of our hearts. And more tragically, we miss out on knowing the desires of His! To ask, submit, trust, and even argue (as King David did) with God is messy and sometimes scary, but infinitely important.

Join me in a quest to know God better and become a PRAYER WARRIOR!

We will continue on the theme of prayer throughout the month of October.

Prayer: Father God, I want to be a prayer warrior. As I seek Your guidance through the truth of Your word, teach me how to pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


PRAYERS THAT GO BEYOND THE CEILING

girl prayingWhen my son, Kevin was about four-years-old, I bought him a helium filled balloon. As soon as we got outside, he intentionally let the balloon go. He watched as it floated higher and higher in the sky until he couldn’t see it any longer. Then he exclaimed with delight, “Take care of my balloon, Jesus.”

Later that evening as I thought about Kevin’s sweet gesture, I contemplated how many times I have released prayers to heaven like a balloon. The difference was, somehow as an adult, I really wasn’t sure if those prayers reached the destination or if they popped on the way there.

For many of us, it seems as we grow older, life crashes over us like violent waves on the ocean. One difficult event after another can cause us to become jaded and lose hope that God really hears or cares about our little prayers. Deep inside we may think thoughts like: If God really cared then why did_____________happen?

And others of us have grown up in the ritual of religion. We attend church out of duty and our prayers have become standard, stale and cliché.

Where do you land when it comes to prayer?

WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR PRAYERS TO GO BEYOND THE CEILING?

I believe that most of us know and would agree that prayer is simply communication with God. But this isn’t just any communication. This is communication with our creator, the Almighty God.

So what does it take to communicate with God?

PRAYER REQUIRES FAITH

Let’s face it, to talk to an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God requires some faith. The question is: what’s the size of your faith?

The Bible teaches that God has given all of us ‘the gift of faith’ in the same measure. We all start off with the same amount of faith.

Romans 12:3 “...in accordance with THE faith God has distributed to each of you.” (emphasis added)

Every believer has a measure of God-given faith. He doesn’t give one person more faith than He gives another. He gives to every man THE measure of faith. Then your faith grows according to what you do with it.

I don’t know about you, but I often feel like the man in the Bible passage below who says to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” I interpret this as, “I have faith, but help my faith grow.” Take a look:

“A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Mark 9:17-25

This gives me hope because it shows we can increase in our faith. I have learned at least three simple ways to increase faith.

THREE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR FAITH

        1. READ THE WORD

Or at least listen to it. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17

If we’d never been told (or read about) Jesus, we’d be clueless about our need for faith.

I think of the Word of God like planting a garden. God’s word is the seed that grows our faith and needs to be planted in our hearts, then taken care of like a garden. God doesn’t just plop eternal knowledge into our brains when we become Christians. He expects us to grow.

We must become familiar with the Bible and what faith is by learning and meditating on its contents. Take a look at what Jesus says in Mark 24:

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Mark 4:24-25 NIV)

         2. APPLY THE WORD

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:22-24

In order to increase our faith, we need to use that “measure” of faith God gives to everyone and build on it.

         3. TEST THE WORD

I’m not talking about “testing” God by seeing how far His patience will go. I’m referring to “proving” God is faithful and true to His word. Malachi 3:9-11  (NIV) offers one way the Lord says we can prove Him faithful to His Word. This passage is about  tithing and being good stewards: “Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  As we “test” or act on what God says and experience God’s blessing, our faith grows.

Sometimes testing the measure of our faith may involve trials and difficulties.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV

We all know that life is hard. No one escapes hardships of some kind or another. What’s important is how we respond to the difficult situations that we will face. It’s God desire that we grow closer to Him during hard times as well as good times.

It’s up to you what you do with ‘the measure of faith’ God has given you. But you’re the one who increases it, not God. Certainly God furnishes the means whereby faith can be increased.

But you can increase your faith by doing three things: reading the Word of God, applying the word—or putting it into practice and proving the Word of God faithful.

In this way, your prayers will make it past the ceiling!