“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." (Matthew 6:5)All prayer is meant to be for God. Prayer is talking with God. You and I speak to God in prayer; He speaks to us through the Bible and His Spirit.
Often it is a good start to begin by listening to the Lord first in Scripture, understanding what He wants for you and what He wants to do through you, then respond to Him in prayer.
What do you say, how do you talk, when you are face to face with God? You may not use the most eloquent, beautiful language, you may not finish your sentences perfectly, you may not have a sensible outline for your prayer.
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)“Closet” means “a private room.” Go into a room by yourself and shut the door. Be alone with the Lord, so that you can freely pour out your heart to Him, and not be distracted as God pours out His heart and mind to you. You can pray out loud, on your knees before God, humbled before Him, without even a hint of self consciousness.
(1) We need to pray in secret before we pray in public: It isn’t wrong to pray in public, it’s good and right. Praying together is one of the most intimate things believers can experience together. But pray privately with God first, get right with Him first. It is wrong to pray in public if you are not in the habit of praying in private.
(2) We must pray sincerely: When you pray together, it can quench the Holy Spirit’s movement among you when
--> One person dominates the prayer time with long speeches that end up being a lecture for the people present, and not real prayer to God Himself.
You can quench the Spirit’s intercession through you by
--> Trying to think up holy sounding words instead of praying what the Spirit puts in your heart to say.
You can quench the Spirit’s leading when you
--> Run out of things to say, but still keep talking.
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:7-8)Repeating a petition to God is not “vain repetition.” Jesus prayed about the same thing three times in a row in the Garden of Gethsemane.
A ”vain repetition” is when you just say the same words, but in your heart you aren’t really seeking God or His will.
* You might be wanting God to do your will;
* Or you might not be invested in what you’re praying about;
* You might be checking it off the list, so you can say you prayed about it;
* Or you might not even be thinking about what you’re saying.
Reciting a beautiful poem to somebody you love can be incredibly moving when you put your heart and soul into it. Praying memorized prayers can be the same. But when you are not thinking about what you’re saying, you’re just getting the job done, that’s “vain repetitiom."
(3) We must pray within God’s will: The purpose of prayer is to glorify God’s name, and ask for help to accomplish His will on earth.
(4) Prayer begins with God’s interests: God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. You and I can’t get anywhere by praying for something that would dishonor God’s name, delay His kingdom or go against His will.
Prayer involves each person of the Trinity.
* You and I pray to God the Father.
* We pray through the Lord Jesus Christ, that's why we often say "for Jesus' sake," because it's on behalf of Jesus' atonement that God allows us to come right up to Him in His holy of holies, the throne room of heaven.
* Being born again, God has put His Holy Spirit in us, so that you and I come to God in the Holy Spirit when we commune with Him.
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