…Guidelines for Praying

David Bast

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

Third, pray comprehensively. In his model prayer Jesus teaches us to pray not just for our own concerns but for God’s as well. In fact, we are to begin with God’s concerns: his Name, his kingdom, his will. Then we turn to our own needs, both physical and spiritual. The pronoun Jesus uses is also important. In the Lord’s Prayer he teaches us not to say “I” or “me” but “us.” “Give us . . . Forgive us . . . Lead us. . . .” Whatever we ask for ourselves we really must be asking for others too.

Fourth, pray earnestly. We can and should ask for needs when we pray; we have strong encouragement to do so. And we don’t have to be shy; we must ask with earnestness and conviction. Jesus says that we should “Ask, seek, knock”; his repetition is meant to stimulate our efforts.

We must decide once and for all that prayer is a priority. We always seem to find time for the things that are most important to us. So, make a plan for daily praying, and then get on with it. Prayer is an exercise. We develop our spiritual muscles the same way we improve our physical ones. Discipline is hard for us. But when the doctor says it’s diet and exercise or die, we somehow find time to walk each day. We need to realize that the same thing is true for the life of our souls. It’s pray or die!

PRAYER

“Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).