This is a Bible study on How to Pray. Click here for a printable Bible Study Guide.
The word of God gives us specific instructions on how we should pray.
Don't pray for show
The word of God reads that we are NOT to pray to show off or to be seen as a holy person, as the hypocrites do. God knows the difference. God knows if you are just praying to be seen by others, God knows what is truly in your heart.
Of course, we can literally stand in the streets and pray, and be seen praying in our churches, it is the wrong type of praying the scripture is talking about, praying to show off, praying without sincerity from your heart to God.
God knows what is in our hearts, and if we are praying sincerely to Him, or if we are praying to show off, which God says is wrong.
Don't use long prayers for pretence and show
The quantity of prayers, the length of prayers, specific rehearsed words is NOT what God receives. God looks at the quality of the prayer, not the quantity, God looks NOT at the length of our prayer but the sincerity and truth of our prayers from our hearts.
Long prayers for pretence are done to impress man, long pretentious prayers are NOT prayers with God.
God doesn't care how much you say, but what you say is what He cares about.
We must remember we are praying with God, no one else.
God want the simple prayers from our heart, not long rehearsed, scripted prayers, that are made for show.
Do not use vain repetitions
Jesus said use NOT vain repetitions. Just as God does not want long prayers for show, He does not want us to use vain repetitions. Here the word of God tells us all "use NOT vain repetitions". No one is heard more by God by much speaking.
God does not want us to pray using vain repetitions, as in chanting, as in repeating the same word or words over and over.
Vain, meaningless repetitions is not wanted in prayer by God.
God teaches us that he wants us to communicate with him.
Our prayers should be unique and meaningful from our own hearts, and NOT what someone else is praying.
We shouldn't repeat the same thing over and over, that is vain repetition.
We wouldn't ask a friend, "Can you please, can you please, can you please, pass the salt, pass the salt, pass the salt". This is what is meant as vain repetition.
In the same way, when we repeat the same thing over and over to God in our prayers, God calls this vain repetition, vain repetition is when prayers are produced by man for man, NOT for God.
For some odd reason, many people today like to pray this way, even though God tells us all NOT to pray this way.
God calls it vain repetition to pray, when we say the exact same words over and over, traditions of men, not for God. Repeating words over and over just to be repeating them, with no meaning, just to be saying words is vain repetition, meaning you are not doing this for God, but for man.
Chanting and repeating scripted words is NOT required in prayer with God.
If God wanted us to pray this way, the Lord's prayer would have been written that way.
People throughout history and even today pray this way, even when God tells us in His holy word, NOT to pray this way.
So why do some people and some churches pray this way? I don't know, it is clear that God doesn't accept this type of prayer, and clearly God doesn't want us to pray this way.
If God wanted us to pray in repetition, the Lord's prayer would have been written differently.
God teaches us how to pray in His Holy Word. The Lord's prayer was given to us by Jesus as a model of prayer, or example of how God wants us to pray.
Kneeling in Prayer
We are to kneel before the LORD God our Maker, our Creator.
Kneeling and praying is mentioned over and over in scriptures, in the word of God.
There is something about kneeling and praying that brings us closer to God. Kneeling shows submission and reverence to our Almighty God.
If you have never kneeled when praying, you should. See how your kneeling submission to God, sacrifice to self, effects your prayers.
There is no scripture that states we must always kneel before God when we pray. Some times it is impossible to kneel and pray, when we are confined to a bed or chair, when our health or physical condition does not permit kneeling.
God is limitless and can hear our prayers in any position we may be in, standing, sitting, laying down, running, walking. God hears all the prayers of His children and all the prayers of sinners who come to Him for repentance and salvation.
Solomon prayed kneeling and hands raised up.
Solomon was the King of the land in that day, and he prayed kneeling and his hands lifted toward God when he prayed.
Daniel kneeled three times a day and prayed.
Was this the only time Daniel prayed?
Jesus kneeled down and prayed.
Even our Lord Jesus kneeled down and prayed to God the Father. As followers of Christ we are to walk in His ways, this would mean kneeling down and praying.
Stephen kneeled down and prayed.
While Stephen was being stoned, he kneeled down and prayed.
Peter kneeled down and prayed.
Paul kneeled and prayed.
Lift up hands toward heaven
The word of God reads, "Let us lift up our heart with our hands to our God in the Heavens".
When we lift up our hands to God when we pray, we are lifting up our hearts to God in Heaven, we are lifting up the name of Jesus, our Lord God and Saviour, to the Heavens, without wrath and without doubting that He is the Saviour and one true God of Heaven.
Because we believe and have faith in God to salvation, we lift up our hands in worship to our LORD God. Because we love our Lord God we lift up our hands in praise to His Glory.
In order to receive anything we must ask God.
In prayer, we must ASK God.
Sounds simple enough, but a lot of times we do not receive anything from God, simply because we do not ask anything of God.
The word of God states that, "we receive not, because we ask not". In prayer, we must ask God to receive from God.
Pray, ask and receive whatsoever we ask.
Ask any thing according to his will, he hears us.
Whatsoever we ask
Pray, ask in the name of Jesus.
If we are saved, God abides in us and if we have the word of God in us, what we ask will be done.
God will give us what we need.
God says to ask Him for everything.
The following scriptures tell some things we can ask from God.
We are to seek the wisdom of God; not the wisdom of men, or the wisdom of this wicked world.
There is only one truth, the truth of God. There is only one revelation from God. There is only one Saviour of the world, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. There is only one way to God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Pray, ask in non-wavering faith.
Without faith in Jesus Christ, you will receive nothing from the LORD.
Receive all things in faithful prayer.
Do you believe in your prayers?
God says that you will receive in prayer exactly what you believe you will receive.
The limitations of what we receive is NOT limited to God, it is limited to what we believe. God has no limits as to what we can receive from Him.
God doesn't put limitations on our prayers, we do by not believing.
God is ready and willing to give us all things, God is ready to give us whatsoever we ask and believe, we will receive.
Ask, Believe and Receive !
Ask God for it, Believe it and Receive it !!
Don't think for a minute that God didn't answer your prayer, because God answers ALL prayers.
Have you missed a step in your prayers? Is your heart right with God? Do you ask in faith? Do you ask God through Jesus Christ? Do you believe?
If you have asked in prayer and believed, then all you need to do is receive.
God answers all prayers. God cannot lie.
God gave us His promise - whatever we ask of God, God will give it to us.
Are you waiting on an answer to your prayer?
Remember, God has a different time table than we do.
There is nothing in the word of God on when or how soon your prayer will be answered. But the wonderful gift is that we know without a doubt, that God will answer every single prayer.
Throughout the scriptures are people who didn't wait on the Lord for answered prayer.
They took the situation in their own hands and messed things up. They missed out on the joy of waiting on the Lord to answer their prayers.
We are no different today, than the ancient people of the Bible. God gives us promises, but instead of waiting patiently for God's gifts, we do things our way, and we miss out on the wonderful gifts God has planned for us.
We get in a hurry. We want things done in an instant, we want it done now. We don't want to wait, not even on God.
Why would we ever possibly think that our way of doing anything, could match the glorious plan God has for our lives.
But time and time again, throughout our lives, we can't seem to wait on God to come through with an answer to our prayers, and we impatiently do things our own way, which is always disappointing and sometimes disastrous.
I am so thankful that I have a God that is so very merciful and doesn't hold my faults against me, and always forgives.
God doesn't make any mistakes, but we sure do. If we could just control our impatient selves and learn to wait on God, our lives would be so much better.
We must all learn to wait on the Lord, wait, I say, on the LORD!
When we pray and ask, our motives must be pure.
We must submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, come near to God, purify our hearts, and humble ourselves to be heard by God.
Our lives must be submitted to God, totally given to God.
We have not, because we ask not. We ask and receive not because we ask amiss, we ask so we can consume it upon our lusts - we ask for things with wrong motives.
What are the motives of your prayers? Why are you praying?
God will not consider a prayer of sin. God will not harm someone because you pray that He will. Vengeance is the Lord's.
God will not help you get a new car so you can brag how great you are to your friends. How would your pride bring glory to God? God resisteth the proud.
God will not give you more money to spend on material possessions, which will push God further and further out of your life.
God does not give harmful things to His children.
God does not want us to lose our soul for the money in the world.
Remember, all the material possessions in the world will not bring anyone happiness, or peace, comfort to their soul, or salvation. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can bring peace to your heart and salvation of your soul.
When you pray and ask God for anything, you should be able to answer this question:
How will the answer to my prayer bring glory to God? What are the motives of my prayer?
When we pray, if we can remember our purpose on this earth, which is to bring glory to God, then our prayers will not be amiss.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Pray for your enemies.
We are not only to pray for those we love, but God says we need to pray for our enemies.
The Holy Spirit helps us pray.
When we don't know what to pray, the Holy Spirit living inside of us helps us pray.
Jesus prays for all believers.
Give Thanks to God for everything
With all our prayers, we should in every thing give thanks to God in Christ Jesus, because this is the will of God.
With all our prayers, we should than God for His unspeakable gift to us, salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.
God tells us to pray all the time, pray without ceasing. We are to be praying when we wake up, all throughout the day, and when we are drifting off to sleep at night. We are to pray morning, noon, and night and all times in between.
All our lives would be better, if we could remember to pray without ceasing. How much better our world would be if all believers of Christ Jesus would pray without ceasing.
There should not be a time in a believer's life where we do not pray. We are to pray all the days of our life, in every situation, in every season of our life.
The word of God tells us that we should all work out our own salvation, this includes our prayer life.
Work out your own salvation, this includes your prayer life.
Your personal prayer life is different than anyone else's. God created you unique from anyone else on earth. Your relationship with God is between you and God.
Every believer is to establish and maintain their own prayer time with God every day.
A lot of believers have a prayer journal. A prayer journal doesn't have to be anything fancy. It is not a special book to buy, although there are published prayer journals you can purchase.
All you need is paper and a pen or pencil, to write down your prayer requests. Show dates and people and things you are praying for or about, and dates when your prayers are answered.
Some people have 10, 20, 30 years worth of prayer journals. It is good to reflect upon and see how your prayer life has grown throughout the years and see all the answered prayers, and how God answered each prayer.
Having a prayer journal can help you remember what you want to pray for and who to pray for and keeps you on track in your prayer life.
A prayer journal is a tool to help you work out your own salvation, but you do not need to keep a prayer journal to have a successful prayer life.
Your Prayer Time
The time you spend every day praying is between you and God.
Your spiritual life grows with every second you spend communicating with God.
Your walk with the Lord, and closeness with God, is grown through daily prayer.
Do you want to be closer with God? Do you want a strong spiritual life? Pray more. Prayer nurtures and grows your spirit.
The time you spend praying should not be hurried. You have to grow a prayer life with God.
Many people think that it is important to put aside the same time every day for prayer. Maybe this is at 5 am in the morning before everyone starts asking you for something, or 11 pm at night, when everyone is asleep.
Whatever the time is, it should be peaceful and respectful, so you and God can fully communicate with each other. You need to be able to hear God, not just have God hear you.
The more you pray the right way, the more results and answers to prayer you will receive.
The more time you take listening to God, the more you will hear God. Many people do not take the time to hear God when they pray.
Seeking God is not telling God what you want from Him, seeking God is listening, hearing His voice speak with you in prayer.
Tithe your prayer time
You could tithe your time to God, not just your financial income.
If you where to tithe your time, that would be minimum 2 hours and 40 minutes a day. (24 hours x 10%) of course you could tithe more than 10%.
You might say, "I don't have two and a half hours a day for anything", but how much time do you spend:
The list of things that occupies our precious time can go on and on. Why not trade some of your unrewarding minutes, with rewarding minutes with God.
People usually have more time than they think. For a lot of people, time is usually more valuable than money. Think about it. Are you giving your best to God? Your best to God, your firstfruits, may be your time.
Isn't praying to your LORD God, building a relationship with God, more important than any of those things?
For some people, time is worth more than money. It is not anything for some people to write out a check for tithe, in a substantial amount of money, because they have a lot. But to give of their time would be a sacrifice, and worth more to God, than their check.
Tithing prayer time should never replace your financial support of tithe to your church or missions.
Tithing prayer time should be in addition to your financial tithe.
Personally, I thank God that I live in America and have the freedom to pray anywhere and at anytime I choose.
There are many places in this world today, where prayer is not allowed. Being born and living all my life in America it is hard to understand what that actually means to those people who cannot freely pray to the Lord God.
There are places in this world today, where there is no religious freedom. Being told when, how, and who to pray to seems medieval. We have read about such times in the Holy Word of God, were certain kings of the time forced all people to bow to them as gods.
There are places in this world today, where you are jailed or even killed for praying to God. Since the beginning of the world people have been persecuted and killed for praying to the one true God of all. Crowds of people would stand by and watch and participate in the stoning to death of such people.
How horrible to think of being harmed in any way, for praying to God!
We Americans take our religious freedom too lightly. Our religious freedom, our right to pray when and where we want is very precious.
What would America be like, if tomorrow there were no religious freedom to pray with our God, no more churches to publicly worship our God? It is hard to imagine.
Today prayer is being removed from America. As God fearing Americans, some how we let prayer be removed from our public schools and other institutions. I am old enough to remember prayer in school. I am old enough to remember reverence to God, in school, in the work place, in entertainment, in publications, and in the media. This is not the case today. The fear of God is being removed from our American culture. We are surrounded with verbal irreverence to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we are surrounded with verbal irreverence, slander, and blasphemy of our God, every day. We silently tolerate misrepresentation of our Lord God, through film, literature, and the media.
We need to stand up for our faith, we need to stand up for Jesus. We shouldn't sit by and take it any more! Moral decline, immoral tolerance, blasphemy, irreverence, ungodliness, unrighteousness, should not be tolerated by the children of the Most High God. If we fear the Lord God, like we say that we do, we must show it by our actions. We must say NO to all sin in our lives and around us. We must lovingly correct each other with the truth of God.
If you search on the internet as to the population of Christians in America, the numbers differ, but some statistics say we are as high as 80% of the population. I find this hard to believe, because if the United States is 80% Christian, why is this not reflected in our society? Why is the media promoting immorality, witchcraft, satanism, adultery, blasphemy, sin, idolatry, other doctrines than the word of God, selfishness, greed, filthiness, and all appearances of evil?
Can you imagine this world without prayer? Can you imagine being tortured and killed for praying to God?
We do not know what we are missing, until we don't have it anymore. There are no guarantees in this life here on earth.
The only guarantee is death and in our eternal life if we believe in Jesus Christ.
We that are blessed to be able to pray when and where we want, should take advantage of this freedom that we have, and pray without ceasing to our Lord and Saviour!
We are blessed and should thank God every chance we get for the freedom that we have to pray!
Let's stop right now, whoever is reading this, and pray and thank God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, that we have the freedom today to pray, anywhere and anytime, with our Almighty God!
Prayer thanking GOD for freedom to pray:
In all places at all times.
We are to pray everywhere, lifting up hands, without wrath and without doubting.
When assembled with believers.
House to house.
Imprisoned, Paul and Silas didn't pray to get out of prison, they prayed to God in spite of being in prison.
If we were placed in prison because of our faith in God, how would we act? Would we hold onto our faith and trust in our Lord, would we be able to pray and sing praises to our God, in spite of our circumstances?
It seems as though it doesn't take much for us sometimes to lose the song in our hearts, to forget the wonders of our Lord. We may not be placed in prison for believing in Christ Jesus, but we as believers face tribulation in this life. We lose a job, have a car accident, we are hospitalized, we are diagnosed with an illness, we lose a loved one, face legal or financial problems, do we in our times of diversity place our faith in God and sing praises to Him? Or do we murmur with doubt and feel abandoned by our God.
God promises all His children trials and tribulations in this world, because we believe in His Son. Sorrow, pain, and tribulation is no secret to God's children. BUT God promises us strength, through His Son, through all that this life can throw at us. God promises all His children that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that in the end, all who hold onto faith in Christ Jesus, will inherit His Kingdom.
Many people do not feel confident about their prayers.
Some people may ask, "Does God hear me? Am I praying wrong?".
The word of God answers these questions.
God said we receive not from our prayers because we ask amiss, when our motives are not pure.
God says ungodly, lustful, sinful prayers are amiss, they are wrong and you will receive not.
Our Almighty God will NOT answer prayers of sin, or for sinful things, or harmful.
How can we pray without praying amiss or asking amiss, without praying wrong? Through obedience and submission to God.
When we diligently seek God, when we deny our 'self' and let God lead our lives, then we are submitting ourselves to God.
We must give all the control (that we think we have) over our own lives completely to God, with nothing held back.
God does not serve us, we serve Him, we must become the servant of God. We are not the master of God, God is the Master. We are do not have wisdom, God holds wisdom, we must become the student of God. God doesn't work for us, we work for God, we must labor for Him. We do not own God, God owns us, we are nothing without Him.
When we walk in the ways of Christ and stay focused on God we will be in tune with the will of God and will not ask amiss.
Studying the word of God and fellowship with Jesus helps us cultivate and grow a successful prayer life.
We must check our motives. Be mindful of why you are asking for a certain thing from God.
With every prayer that we pray, we must ask ourselves: How will it glorify God?
If we continually seek God and study His word, we will be guided by the word of God, our hearts will be filled with God and we will not pray wrong.
King Solomon's prayer
An example of what to pray and what NOT to pray is detailed in the scriptures in a prayer by King Solomon.
What would you say if God asked you, "ASK WHAT I SHALL GIVE THEE". What would be your response? What would you ask of God?
That is what God asked Solomon, and here is what Solomon said.
Solomon did NOT ask God for money, or for God's favor on him, or for revenge of his enemies, or for a long life, or for anything selfish. Solomon asked for the wisdom to judge his people fairly and justly. Solomon's wish was to serve the Lord and serve His kingdom, His people with wisdom and justice. Solomon asked for wisdom to know the will of God.
If you read the rest of 1 Kings chapter 3, you will read about the two woman who claim to be the mother of the same baby. How Solomon commanded that the baby be cut into two pieces, divided in two, so that each mother can have an equal share of the baby. Of course, the baby was not cut into two pieces, the true mother begged that the other woman be given her baby to spare its life. The courts were amazed at Solomon's wisdom. Solomon knew that the true mother of this child would not let harm come to her baby. Solomon knew that the true mother would give away her baby instead of seeing it killed. God had given Solomon wisdom to rule his people.
God gave Solomon wisdom and an understanding heart, such wisdom that was never seen before.
By studying these verses, we can see the steps Solomon took before he answered God's question, "Ask what I shall give thee?".
It is important to note what Solomon didn't ask for:
So, what did God give Solomon? God gave Solomon what he asked for, PLUS much more that Solomon didn't ask for, because of what he asked for and not for things for himself.
The gifts from God to Solomon were sealed with a covenant. If Solomon walks in the ways of God, keeping all of God's statutes and God's commandments, as did his father David before him, then God will lengthen his days.
When we know God and Christ Jesus abides in our hearts, when we walk in the ways of the Lord, when we live by faith, when we are led by the Spirit of God, we too, will know what to answer God, when He asks us, "Ask what I shall give thee?".
Just like King Solomon, God asks all His children, "Ask what I shall give thee?". God is waiting on all of His own, to seek His will, to ask Him what He shall give to us. What shall God give you? What do you want God to give to you?
God is the same today as He was yesterday.
God still today answers every prayer.