FAQ #22 How should we pray?

How should we pray ?

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When people today call or write about prayer this is the first place that I take them. These are absolutely the best verses on prayer.

Philippians 4:6a

“Be careful (or worry) for nothing;…”

You’ve seen these little wall plaques that say, “why worry when you can pray.” Well there’s more to that than meets the eye. We’re not supposed to worry. Now we can be concerned. I think everyone of us have concerns, and we have that right to have those concerns, but we’re not to fret and worry.

Philippians 4:6b

“… but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…”

It doesn’t do you any good to petition God if you forget to thank Him for it in advance as you pray.. Thanking God is the criteria, that’s the modus operandi for prayer. Make it with thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6b

“…let your requests be made known unto God….”

He isn’t limiting your request. It can be anything as long as it’s in Godly reason of course, but let your requests be made known unto God. Here we can come, and ask with thanksgiving, but God may say, No! He may say, no not right nowmaybe later. He may say, Yes. But regardless how He answers in verse 6, you’ve already got the answer in verse 7. We’ve got the answer to our prayers here in verse 7, and what is it?

Philippines 4:7

“And the peace of God, (no matter how God answers our request) which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Do you see why we don’t have to worry about anything? It’s because we have that peace of God, and that’s what keeps us. I know that’s beyond human understanding. I know we’re all human and we do worry and fret, and get overly concerned, and yet I think most of us have to admit that through all of our tight spots, we came through it with God’s help. Now that’s where we have it over on the world. God never promises us that we’re going to go through life without problems. We’re going to have just as many problems as many in the world around us, but what’s the difference? We have God with us in our problems, we have Him to take us through and we can rest assure in that.

Another Scripture comes to mind in Psalms chapter 37. Now this is from David even under the Law, but I can still go back and use it in application, and it’s a beautiful couple of verses. This passage fits right along this same line of thinking. The peace that passeth all understanding will keep our heart and minds through Christ Jesus. Now let’s look what David writes, and let’s start with verse 5. My what a promise.

Psalms 37:5

“Commit thy way unto the LORD trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass”

Maybe not in our timing, but in His. Isn’t that a promise? My I’ve gone through trying times myself, and I just about wear that verse out. But do you know what it means to commit something? It means you take it to God and leave it with Him. I think I’ve given this example before. Regardless what you think of the Post Office, I think most of you just go and drop your letter in the mail slot. Do you go home and for the next week fret and worry whether it got to it’s destination or not? No. Because as soon as you dropped that letter, what did you do? You committed it to the Postal Service to take care of it. You don’t go home and lose sleep over worrying if the letter got there. Because you’re assuming that it will. You committed it, and you let it go at that. Now this is what verse 5 means.

Psalms 37:5

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

When you have a need, a problem, or concern, you simply commit it to the Lord. You take it to Him, and you leave it there, you don’t hang on to it. If you hang onto that letter, it never will get down into the mail, because you’ve still got it. But if you let it go then it’s committed. The other verse I like here in this chapter is verse 7.

Psalms 37:7a

“Rest in the LORD,…”

Do you know what it means to rest? It means to relax. Turn those concerns over to Him, don’t hang on to your problems. But rather “Rest in the Lord.”

Psalms 37:7b

“…and wait patiently for him:

See, we’re in a society of instant gratification. Give it to me now Lord, I’m in a hurry! No we have to learn to “wait patiently for him.”

Psalms 37:7b

“…fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

Boy we see that every day don’t we? We look at the young ungodly world around us, and all their prosperity, and wealth, and wonder, “Why?” Don’t worry about that, because those are things that are in God’s hand. But our responsibility is to commit our way unto the Lord, trust in Him and let Him bring it to pass in His own time. Some times it takes a lot longer than we think. It may take years, but God will do it in His own time.

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Colossians 1:12

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:”

Now let’s look at giving thanks to the Father. I’ve had several questions lately, it’s funny how they sort of come in groups, and the question is, “Is it appropriate to pray to the Father in this age of Grace? Well I taught it on television, and had forgotten when I taught it but I found it the other day, so I’m going to have you turn back to Ephesians chapter 5, because maybe some of you or some of the listening audience wonder about praying to the Father, as the Lord’s prayer instructs us to do. Yes that has not changed. This is as clear cut an answer as you can get.

Ephesians 5:20

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Isn’t that exactly how we do it? So it’s still appropriate today, yes we do pray to the Father, and we do all in the name then of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we’re going to see that relationship in the Trinity in little later verses, but for now come back again to Colossians chapter 1. So Paul as he prays to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ he has thanked God, the Father that He took these Colossians out of paganism, out of darkness, out of the chains of the satanic powers and translated them into the heavenly kingdom. Now what’s happened to the Colossians has happened to us. We too have been translated from a position in darkness, and we are now citizens of the heavenly kingdom. Now Paul does not make a big a do about our kingdom relationship, because after all that’s primarily associated with the nation of Israel.

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Colossians 3:17

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Now there’s the process again, as Paul also gave it in Ephesians on how we’re to pray. I still have people ask, “Are we still supposed to pray in the name of Jesus?” Absolutely! Come back with me to Ephesians chapter 5. You’ll see this is plain English, this is the process.

Ephesians 5:20

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father (how?) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

Now that’s the Scriptural instructions, and Paul says the same thing here in Colossians. Now looking at Colossians again.

Colossians 3:17

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

By the Lord Jesus, because after all He’s the One that’s at the right hand of the Father, He’s the One that’s the advocate, He’s the One that is the intercessor, and it only makes common sense. In fact another verse comes to mind in I Timothy chapter 2. Again it’s a good admonition for all of us.

I Timothy 2:1-5

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2. For kings, (our government) and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honestly. 3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. 4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth. 5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

Oh aren’t you glad you don’t have to go through a priest, or a religion, but you have clear access into the throne room.

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II Corinthians 1:11

“Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.” In other words Paul then, and like we do today, realized what really sustained him in his ministry. The prayers of the saints! Never fail to pray for one another. Pray for us, and others in the ministry that God is using to reach hearts. Remember prayer changes things.

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Colossians 2:13

“And you, being dead in your sins (absolutely, we were as under the control of the old nature, our spirit was completely of fellowship with God and so that’s what Paul says we were in the world. We were dead in sin) and the uncircumcision of your flesh (by virtue of being Gentiles) but hath he (God) quickened (has regenerated our spirit. He has crucified old Adams and has given us a new nature. A new divine nature) together with him, having (already) forgiven you all trespasses.”

Before I go back and look at another word, let’s look at Colossians chapter 3, since we’re already in that. And let’s look at verse 13. And again, Paul repeats this twice in two chapters to drive it home. And oh, most of Christendom has a hard time swallowing this, I know they do. But here it is again.

Colossians 3:13

“Forbearing one another, (remember, he’s writing to believers congregated in an assembly) and forgiving one another, if any may have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Now look at that verse very carefully. Is there any demand in that verse that you forgive your enemy before you can be saved? NO! That’s already done by the Grace of God. You’re forgiven. But now since you and I are forgiven, what should we be ready to do? Forgive whoever we have ought against, whether it’s in the Church or neighborhood or whatever. There is nothing stipulated in Paul’s Gospel, nor his writings that first we have to forgive everybody before we can be forgiven like the Lord Jesus said during His earthly ministry under Law. I had a question come the other day. Someone had heard it and they had missed it. The Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer isn’t appropriate for us today. The Lord’s Prayer was under Law. It was to Israel. And it says “forgive us our trespasses (when?) as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Now that’s Law. And absolutely a Jew could not be forgiven until he went and forgave his neighbor. But that doesn’t hold true today. We’re forgiven by the Grace of God. And if we’re forgiven, then why in the world can’t we forgive our neighbor? That’s the teaching.

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Romans 8:26

“Likewise the Spirit (the Holy Spirit who is now indwelling us, according to Paul’s teaching) also helpeth our infirmities (our weaknesses. There’s not much we can do about it because we’re dealing with the invisible, in the realm of the Spirit. But let God do it. God can strengthen us in our places of infirmity): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

That verse is kind of hard to comprehend, except to say I think that there will come places in our lives when we just don’t know how to pray. We have an idea of what we want, but we can’t put it into words. I’ve told my classes over the years, when you get to that situation, just be quiet, shut up and let the Holy Spirit commune for you. This is not necessarily a tongues experience. That’s not what Paul is talking about. But we get to this place where the Holy Spirit actually intercedes on our behalf.


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