Guidelines for Praying

David Bast

READ : Matthew 6:9-15
Matthew 7:7

Christians pray; it’s as simple as that. We may pray badly, we may pray infrequently, but we pray. The great Christian teacher of the last century, Bishop J. C. Ryle, put the matter succinctly: “God has no dumb children.”

The question then becomes how to pray. Jesus offers us some pointers here in his sermon, both in the explicit instructions he gives and in the model prayer he offers, the prayer known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Here are four principles of good praying:

First, pray confidently. Jesus teaches us to address God as “Father,” using the very name he himself did. We don’t gain access to God through prayer. We pray because we have access to him through Jesus. If by faith in Christ you are God’s child, you need never hesitate to come to him. Jesus urges us to approach God in prayer with confidence by using one of his favorite arguments, the “how much more” argument: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Second, pray simply. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do.” Prayer is not a matter of learning the right technique, or repeating the correct formulas. You don’t score more prayer points for reciting more words. . . .

PRAYER

Thank you, Father, that we can come so freely to you in prayer, through your Son, our Lord. Amen.