On Sunday morning before I prayed, I thought of the prayers of Daniel, Jehoshaphat and Solomon and what they had in common. Before they made their petitions, they acknowledged who God was and what He had done.
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He began with blessing God’s name. He addressed Him as “Our Father” inferring an intimate and loving relationship with Him. After blessing God’s name, Jesus stated that just as God’s will is done in Heaven it will be done on earth. So, the sequence was a respectable adn loving salutation, blessing God’s name, pledging obedience to Him. Then, the petitions followed–give us our daily bread, forgive us, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.
I remember learning the proper way to pray. It was called ACTS–Acknowledgment, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Our petitions should be last although there are prayers that are just cries for help like the father whose son was possessed. His prayer was, “”Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”” (Mark 9:24). The thief on the cross prayed for grace, ” “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). The publican’s prayer was a short but heartfelt prayer for God’s mercy, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13).
God prefers short, sincere prayers to long, repetitious and vain prayers. Don’t pray to yourself like the Pharisee who spent his time talking about how thankful that he was not like the others and how often he fasted and how often he gave tithes. This is not the kind of prayer that God wants to hear. Prayer should be all about who God and why we go to Him in the first place. God likes us to come to Him not only when we need something. Prayer should not be only about asking. Our prayers can be just prayers of thanksgiving or praise or even confession. And it’s nice when we pray for others.