Are you newly born again? Not sure how to pray?
Prayer is your personal direct communication with God. Jesus taught that when we pray, we should not pray so as to be seen by others to be praying (i.e. make a public display of our prayer so that we are seen to be holy) but to pray where we have privacy and God who sees what happens in private will reward you openly [Matthew 6:6]. He also taught that in praying we should not repeat the same words again and again [Matthew 6:7]. Talk to Him as you would talk to any person you trust deeply and respect (revere Him). Be open and honest and talk from your heart – He knows what is in it anyway!
In your prayer, take time to thank Him for what He has done for you i.e. “count your blessings” and express your thanks. Praise Him and worship Him in your prayer. [If you wish to see good examples of how to praise and worship, read the Psalm book in the Bible.]
When praying, do not simply list the things you wish Him to do for you without any thanksgiving.
“6 Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 [New King James Version]
When you pray make your requests to God the Father, asking in the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, was given all authority in heaven and on earth [Matthew 28:18]. Jesus Himself said: “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.“ John 16:23-24 [New King James Version] (My emphasis) The condition is that you must live your life closely attached to Jesus and His words must live in your heart (i.e. obey His commandments) - "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." John 15:7 [New King James Version] "This is my command: Love each other." John 15:17 [New Living Translation]
In your prayer, confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 [New King James Version]
“7 When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.
8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need before you ask him!” Matthew 6:7-8 [New Living Translation]
He taught that we pray in the following manner (commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer):
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 [New King James Version]
This prayer can be prayed as is or it can be used as a model in structuring our own prayers. The components of the prayer can be seen as (1) worshipping God; (2) acknowledging that His will should override everything in our lives; (3) requesting God to meet our specific needs; (4) expressly forgiving those who do wrong against us; (5) asking for God’s protection and help in the situations that we face; and (6) giving Him all glory in everything as the omnipotent Creator to whom everything belongs (including your life).
“14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15 [New International Version]
Once you are in a good, bible based church, you will be taught about baptism in the Spirit and praying in the Spirit (commonly known as praying in tongues). Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:10]. To describe it very briefly, it is a gift of speaking or praying in a tongue you do not understand (although you pronounce the words in your own volition).
What is the purpose of praying in tongues? The bible explains one reason as follows: "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words." Romans 8:26 [New Living Translation] There are other reasons as well but this would be a separate topic in itself (which I can’t cover in this article).
Recognising the power of praying in the Spirit, the Apostle Paul recommended that we should pray both in our natural tongue and in the Spirit. [1 Corinthians 14:14-15]
When you have joined your local church, check if it teaches and encourages praying in the Spirit. If it does not do so, realise that that church is either ignoring or rejecting a critical role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a born again believer. In short, find a church that teaches the gospel in full!