This is a Bible study on What to Pray. Click here for a printable Bible Study Guide.
This is a very good question, one that even the disciples of Jesus asked Him ďLord, teach us to prayĒ.
Jesus gave His disciples a prayer to be used as a model, an example, an outline of what we should pray.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:9 'after this manner therefore pray ye'. Jesus desires that everyone pray their own prayers from their own hearts to God.
The prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples as an example of "what to pray" and is better known as "The Lordís Prayer" because it was prayed by the Lord Jesus Himself.
As with all things, the elements of effective prayer can be found in the written word of God. God gave each of us a model of effective prayer within the Lord's Prayer. This example was given to all people who desire to pray to God.
Elements of effective prayer
Jesus said, "after this manner therefore pray ye". Too many people forget that Christ told us to use His Prayer as an example of how we are to pray, not to use His prayer exclusively.
If we use the Lordís Prayer as an outline, as Jesus intended it to be, we can model our daily prayers to contain the necessary elements of effective prayer.
"After this manner" is Jesus giving us an example, a model to use as a basis for our prayers. Prayer is communication, fellowship, communion with God - not a rehearsed set of words.
Remember, Jesus said to use this Lord's Prayer as an example, He said "after this manner". If Jesus had wanted everyone to only use this prayer exclusively and say it over and over, He would have said so. If God wanted us to use, repeat this prayer over and over, Jesus would have said "use this exact prayer every time you pray", but He didn't.
It is good to learn this prayer by heart, and pray this prayer, but it should not be the only prayer that you pray.
True prayer comes from each individual's own heart.
I. Our Father which art in heaven,
First, who are you praying to?
When praying, you should always address your prayer to whom you are praying to, as in the first line of the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father which art in heaven"
We can pray to Our Father, Father God, God the Father, Dear Heavenly Father, whichever way you feel the Spirit leads you in your own heart. We can pray to Jesus, the Son of God, God the Son. We can pray to both - Dear Jesus and God our Father - because they are One (John 10:30).
God is all-wise, all-loving and all-powerful.
We are NOT to pray to anyone or anything other than God. We are never to pray to saints, or the apostles, angels, or anyone other than God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and to God the Spirit, or Holy Ghost.
There is only One True Living Jehovah God Almighty, there is none else.
Only God hears our prayers. Only God possesses the power to answer anyone's prayers. Praying to anyone other than God is a sin against God Himself, and is idolatry.
II. Hallowed be thy name.
"Hallowed be thy name" Holy is God's name! We should always use God's name with the utmost reverence.
Praise God's Holy name. God's precious name is hallowed, holy.
Hallowed be thy name. We are blessed to be able to pray directly to our Lord God. It is a gift and our privilege to be able to come to the Lord in prayer.
As children of the Most High Holy God, we are able to come before Him at anytime and anywhere and place our petitions directly in front of Him. Casting all your cares for he careth for you.
As a servant of Christ Jesus, we are gifted with His inheritance into the Kingdom of God the Father, co-heirs with Christ to the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:17). As believers, we are enabled with the power and righteousness of Christ to come before our Lord God in prayer.
We serve a Holy God, and we should enter prayer with reverence and respect toward our Lord God, who is the Creator of the Universe, the Saviour of the World, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. As believers we are to be concerned with the reputation of God. God is our Banner, which we respect and hold up high.
Holy is the name of God. We are to remember the wondrous works of God, never forgetting what He gave to us, and at what cost He gave it to us with, and never forgetting He is our Holy God.
Jesus Christ is power and authority in our lives. There is power in the name of the Lord. There is no other power greater than the power of God.
Praise the name of the Lord.
Remember God is bigger, greater than any of our problems. Let us magnify His Holy name when we pray. Put the focus of our prayer on God, not on our problems.
Lift Godís name up, not our problems.
Praise, Glorify, and Magnify His blessed Holy name!
III. Thy kingdom come.
"Thy Kingdom come" God is first. We must purposefully place God first, above all things in our lives.
When we accept the salvation of God, we surrender our lives to God, we give up our life for the life of Christ, we trade our earthly life for eternal life in the Kingdom of God. I surrender my life for God, to God, for God to use, all the days of my life.
"Thy Kingdom come" Ask the Lord to reign - inside His kingdom - inside you. Thy kingdom come into our hearts and minds. I want to live in, abide in the Kingdom of God.
Surrendering and living in and for the Kingdom of God is the only way His will can be done in our lives.
As believers, we live in God's Kingdom now, today; and, we will live in His Kingdom to come, if we remain in the faith.
The Kingdom of God resides in the hearts of all believers who hold steadfast to the faith. Today God's Kingdom for us now is a spiritual kingdom, but one day will be a physical Kingdom, where all the household of God (Ephesians 2:19), the saints of God, all the angels of God, will reign forever with God, praising God, thanking God, worshiping God and loving God for all eternity.
"Thy Kingdom come" Pray for the coming of the Lord's Kingdom to all people of this world. Pray for the lost to accept Jesus into their hearts and live inside the Kingdom of God forevermore. Pray for the rapture of the church and the second coming of Jesus Christ.
As children of God, His kingdom is our kingdom, now and in the future.
This earth is not our home; the Kingdom of God is our home. This earthly home is just temporary (2 Corinthians 4:18); and, this earthly life is but a vapor (James 4:14). Believers are just strangers in this land, pilgrims on this earth (Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11), passing through, as we make our journey to our home to our God in Heaven. We should all desire to go home.
To live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
IV. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Pray for Godís will to be done in everything.
Pray and ask that Godís will be done in you. You need to live in God's will every day. Ask that Godís will be done in the earth, in heaven, in our government, in leaders in authority, in our family, in our church, pastor, church family, and friends.
Pray to God for the people you know who are not saved, pray and ask God that they will be saved, no matter what it takes.
Pray for the lost in your family, in your town, in the world, that they may come to Jesus and be saved. (Donít pray that unsaved people be Ďblessedí, pray that the lost will be saved, no matter what it takes. They must be saved first before they can be blessed.)
Pray for churches here and around the world to do the will of God.
Pray for people here and around the world.
Pray for teachers, schools, universities, for the leaders and the students in your town and around the world.
Pray for people before a problems starts. Put over them a prayer covering, shielding them from problems in the future.
Pray for specific issues in your life were you need help from God.
God is waiting every day for us to ask for His help.
God is ready to help you now, today.
God wants us to be specific, give God your cares.
V. Give us this day our daily bread.
Give thanks to God for all the blessings in your life. Be specific.
Thank God for giving you His Son, thank God for your salvation.
Thank Him for your health, your family, your home, your job, all that He has so graciously given you.
Give thanks for your daily bread, food to eat, a place to sleep, clothes to wear, a family to love and care for and those who care for you.
Pray for your necessities.
Ask God for what you need.
If you ask for nothing, you will receive nothing.
If you don't ask for anything, you will not receive anything.
Thank Jesus for everything that He has provided for you and will provide for you.
Thank God for His covenants, His promises, His grace, His mercy, His many, many gifts.
Everything good that we have comes from God alone (James 1:17); and, He alone is worthy of our thanksgiving, our praise and our worship.
VI. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Forgive us our short comings, our debts, and our sins. And we forgive everyone who has sinned against us. You must forgive in order to be forgiven.
If you canít forgive everyone for everything, you will not be forgiven.
You will not be forgiven, if you cannot forgive.
VII. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
Pray to be led on a path away from temptation and harm every day. Temptation is not a sin, but yielding to temptation is sin. If we pray that we are not lead into temptation, we can avoid sin.
God promises us, that if we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, that the devil will flee from us.
Pray for God's protection from this evil world.
Pray for God's deliverance from evil every day.
The devil never stops, he works 24/7, 365 days a week. Satan especially goes after believers, he is always on the hunt to see who has let their guard down, who he can get.
VIII. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Wow! How glorious is that! - God is the kingdom!
Just thinking about that we will inherit the kingdom of God is so incredibly wonderful !
Praise and thank God, for He is the Kingdom! God is the Power!
God is omnipotent! God is Almighty! God holds all the power. There is no greater power than the power of God.
As the children of God, we have the power of God inside of us!!
Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
God is the Glory! God is forever!
The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. Exodus 15:18 Amen!
Ask in the name of Jesus Christ
Close all your prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are to pray all our prayers with the authority given to us by Jesus, so we ask all prayers in his name, who gives us the power, Jesus Christ our Lord.
You may ask, well the Lord's Prayer does not close with "in the name of Jesus Christ or Lord", that is because the Lord's Prayer was prayed by Jesus, He is the author of the prayer, He is the Lord.
We are given many scriptures that say we should ask all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Don't just pray about problems
Do you have a friend who calls you all the time to talk about their problems? Before you can say hello, they are going on and on how horrible this or that is, 'woe is me'.
Wouldn't you like them to take the time to say first, "Are you busy? How is your day been? Do you have time for me now?"
Wouldn't you like them to call you up and say something positive about their life, talk about something nice that happened in their life?
Well, God is never too busy to hear us, and He always has time for us, but we shouldn't get into the habit of praying only when we have problems. And if you only pray when you have a problem, then you have a bigger problem.
Prayer is NOT to be used as a complaint center.
Sure God wants to help us with our problems, but He also wants to hear how wonderful our lives are, how thankful we are that He gave us beautiful wonders in our day.
God wants to hear about our joys, our praises and thanksgiving.
God wants to hear our dreams and our plans, what we are thinking, our joys, and what makes us happy.
God wants to hear how much we love Him and love his Son Jesus.
Don't you like it when those you love, tell you how much they love you and why they love you. The things that are going on in their lives and their thoughts and their plans.
Doesn't God deserve our praise and our love? Of course He does!
God is your friend and wants to hear all about your life, not just about your problems and worries.
We should approach prayer reverently, as in prayer we approach the throne of God, we are in communion with the Creator of all things, the Father of all creation, it is a holy time.
Prayer of thanksgiving. Our prayer time should be more than a petition at God asking Him for things, it should be a time of thanksgiving - thanking Him for being our God, our Lord, our Savior, thanking Him for all His great and precious promises and blessings and giving Him the praise and glory only He deserves.
Prayer for the Salvation of God. A prayer for the salvation of God should be every person's first prayer. And after we receive God's salvation, we ought to pray that every one else will as well.
Prayer for the love of God to be shown around the world. This world is hurt, aching, diseased and going down a path of destruction. The love of God is the cure for this decaying world. The love of God is to be shared with everyone we meet. 1 John 4:11
Prayer for ourselves. When we pray we ought to pray for ourselves for what we need to complete our purpose for God. We need to be clean and holy to fulfill the will of God we must ask for the Lord's forgiveness for our sins, wisdom to complete our task, to lead us in His truth, keep us strong in the faith, pray for discernment, pray to keep ourselves in the love of God, with a heart for God's will, with a heart for others. We ought to pray for God's protection over our own lives so that we can serve God. Pray for guidance and sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer for others in general. We can pray generally for our country, our world, our government, our churches, our schools, our churches, our neighborhoods, our towns and cities, and our communities. We can be specific with government leaders, like our president. We can be specific with names of our pastors or church leaders.
Prayer for others specifically. When we pray we should be as specific for the needs of others as we can. We should not just pray for "everyone we know" but be specific listing names and requests. "Dear Lord God, I ask that you touch Sue today, heal her and make her strong, the doctors say she has cancer, but we know that illness and disease does not exist in your Kingdom. We rebuke all cancer in Sue's body in the name of Jesus let her be healed. You are the God of peace and the God of all comfort, give her your peace and your comfort today. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen".
Prayer for the lost. Millions of people die every day without Christ, without the salvation of God. Believers must have a commitment to praying for unbelievers. Those you know that are lost ought to be lifted up to God by name. We should always be praying for the lost to answer the call of Jesus. Jesus calls every person to Him to receive His salvation, every one. No one is excluded from hearing at least one call from God to come to Him to receive His salvation.
Prayer for the will of God. We are to pray for the will of God to be accomplished.
Prayer for God's Missionaries. We ought to pray for God's missionaries who are all around this world. Most churches have specific missionary families that they support personally, we can pray for these by name.
Prayer for protection. We ought to pray for our protection and the protection over our families.
Prayer for Harvest. We ought to pray that people will answer God's call to the harvest, to surrender their lives to God's service, to dedicate their lives to the harvest of God. Luke 10:2
Prayer for return of Christ. Believers watch and pray for Christ. God promises that Christ will come again soon. No one knows when. We are to never stop praying for Him to come.
"...Even so, come, Lord Jesus" Revelation 22:20
The following scriptures tell some things we can ask from God.
Our first prayer to God ought to be asking Him for His forgiveness of our sins and for His gift of salvation.
"God, I believe in Jesus that He died for my sins and was raised from the dead to new life. I want that new life. I confess and repent of my sins against you. Please, Lord, forgive me of my sin, come into my heart give me your gift salvation. I will follow Jesus and He will be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen"
Love of God.
We are to seek the wisdom of God; not the wisdom of men, or the wisdom of this wicked world.
Understanding of the spiritual things of God comes from God above. We must pray confidently for the things of God, the wisdom of God, the understanding that the Holy Spirit gives.
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.
Many people do not feel confident about their prayers. 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, that you may consume it upon your lusts, for the wrong reasons.
God says ungodly, lustful, sinful prayers are amiss, they are wrong and you will receive not.
Our Almighty God does not answer prayers of sin, or for sinful things.
How can we pray without praying or asking amiss, without praying wrong?
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 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. 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.
What about all those people who do not have access to a Bible or fellowship with other believers? How do they grow in their prayer life?
There are many people in the world who do not own a bible and who are saved. These people grow in their prayer life by communicating with God and following their spirit, led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides and directs us and shows us how to live and grow in God. The Spirit of God abides in the hearts of all believers.
God is always with His children. God is always listening, waiting patiently to hear the voice of all His children. God is waiting to hear our voice. God is waiting to hear your voice call to Him, today.
God is the same today as He was yesterday.
God still answers every prayer.