Ephesians 6.18 : "Make all kinds of prayers and supplications in the Spirit at all times, watch with perseverance, and pray for all the holy ones."
To pray is to speak to God, it may be that an unconverted man prays and God answers him (Jonah 1:14). But, in a deeper way, to pray is the expression of the new life that God gives to him who confides in him. Prayer thus translates a personal relationship with God, made of faith, trust in God. It is not a meritorious work. It is not a question of speaking much but of approaching God with respect and love.
Matthew 6.7 : "While praying, do not multiply vain words, like the Gentiles, who imagine that by dint of words they will be heard."
Christian prayer is by no means a magical act, a sort of "mantra" that must be constantly repeated to gain power. Such a practice is totally foreign to the Word of God and is related to religions. Prayer puts us first and foremost in the presence of God. The believer who prays is not alone, he is with his God, he looks to his God.
2-) Its purpose.
Matthew 26.42 : "And he went away a second time, and prayed, My Father, if it be not possible for this cup to go away without my drinking, let your will be done."
We pray first for God to be glorified. When, by faith, we truly approach God, the desire to honor Him grows in us. Also related to this desire, we pray to discern and fulfill the will of God. As we pray, we learn not to impose our thoughts on God but to submit to him. "Thy will be done!"
2 Thessalonians 3.1 : "For the rest, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may spread out and be glorified as it is with you."
Always linked to this desire to glorify God, we pray to be strengthened in the fight against Christians, a fight for the gospel, for the good of the Church (the elect) and for all men. We pray because we need God, to approach him and seek his face. Our prayer is a desire of God, a thirst for communion. This thirst, this desire is given from God.
3-) His results.
Philippians 4.7: "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."
God answers the prayer of his children. He does it in a double way. First he gives them peace and delivers them from distress. We can blame him for taking care of us. Then God hears the object of our request if it is His will.
2 Corinthians 12.9 : "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient unto you, for my power is made perfect in weakness: so I will boast much more willingly of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Sometimes, to strengthen our faith, he does not answer right away. So we must persevere in prayer. Finally, if our request is not according to His will, God will answer us "no" and make this answer clear in our mind, while fortifying our faith.
4-) Who should we pray?
Luke 11.2 : "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come...."
When we pray, it is important to know what divine person we are addressing. Christ came from heaven to make us know God as our Father. From now on we can address God as a son speaks to his Father, in an intimate and joyful communion. We do it with respect and humility, but with the assurance of being heard.
Romans 8.17 : "Now, if we are children, we are also heirs: heirs of God, and co-heirs of Christ...."
We also pray to the Lord Jesus. He is this friend more attached than a brother who enters with sympathy in all the distresses of his. The Bible gives no example or exhortation to pray to the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, it puts in close relation the prayer and the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who gives believers the freedom to invoke God as Father, the certainty of being children of God. He puts needs first, praises God, gives words to express it, and raises our prayer in the sense of the will of God.
5-) How to pray ?
Hebrews 12.28 : "Therefore, receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us show our gratitude by rendering to God a worship that is pleasing to him, with piety and fear."
If we become aware of the greatness, the majesty and the holiness of God, we will pray with reverence and fear. Humility, the feeling of nothingness but also the assurance of being loved and listened to characterize the one who knows God as the Father.
6-) In the consciousness of our need.
James 1.17 : "Every excellent grace and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights, in whom there is neither change nor shadow of variation."
One of the first conditions to pray is to be aware of our need. The one who says, "I am rich, ... I do not need anything." do not feel the need to invoke God. On the other hand, the believer who realizes his spiritual poverty approaches the Father willingly.
7-) With love and faith.
Matthew 22.37: "Jesus answered him," You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
At the beginning of the prayer, there is always a call from God. It is not we who take the initiative to pray, it is God who calls us to pray. Praying is therefore a grace that God gives us. God keeps coming to us and he invites us to go to him and to love him. This imperative to love God, which breaks our self-sufficiency and is the beginning of all true prayer.
James 1.6 : "But let him ask it in faith, without doubting, for he who doubts is like the wave of the sea, moved by the wind and pushed to one side and to another."
To pray we must be sensitive to the love of God and welcome him by faith in our lives. What happiness to realize that God loves us, to trust him, to let us guide him! Trust in the love of our God leads us to invoke it for every need, to bring it into the details of our lives.
James 1.7 : "Let such a man not imagine that he will receive anything from the Lord: he is an irresolute man, inconstant in all his ways."
We are exhorted to ask in faith, that is, to have the spiritual exercise of actually involving God, to "engage" him in a cause according to him. It is therefore asking knowing that he wants and that he can answer, and therefore he will answer. For that, we need to be based on the rock, the rock of the Word of God, and to put our trust entirely in Jesus, our rock.
8-) With the heart and with intelligence.
1 John 5.15 : "And if we know that he hears us, that we ask, we know that we have the thing that we asked of him." When we pray, we must do it with the heart. It is not a matter of pouring into the sentimental, but of expressing real and felt needs. Words do not always engage the deepest of us, they can even mask a refusal to open to God. We do not pray with ideas but with his person. Not with what we know but with what we live. The prayer must reflect what I am, it involves me.
1 Corinthians 14.15 : "What shall I do, I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the understanding, and I will sing with the spirit, but I will sing with the understanding also."
"Pray with the heart", "pray with the spirit" must go hand in hand with "pray with intelligence". When we pray, it is not a question of silencing our intelligence, given of God, but of putting it in the service of the Lord to understand, with the help of his Spirit. his thought and his will. Prayer with intelligence implies that we understand the words we say and that our prayer is in accordance with writing.
9-) In suitable moral dispositions.
1 Peter 5.5 : "In the same way, you who are young, be submissive to the elders, and all in your intercourse, be humbled, for God resisteth the proud, but he gives grace to the humble."
To be heard by God, prayer must be accompanied by moral dispositions that are appropriate before God. The awareness of His grace will keep us in humility that does not presume its strength but relies on God. We must also pray righteously, in the desire to obey, to act accordingly. We can ask ourselves: "Do I really want what I'm asking for? Do I really expect it?"
Matthew 6.12 : "Forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive those who have offended us...."
Prayer associates us with the work of God. To answer our prayers, God can ask us for an active participation. To refuse to do so would make the prayer run away. Among the moral qualities that are appropriate for prayer, the spirit of forgiveness is very important. If we keep feelings of bitterness, bitterness, our prayers are affected. More broadly, our entire practical life has repercussions on our prayer life.
10-) In the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Holy Spirit.
John 14.13 : "If you ask anything in my name, I will do it."
We must pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. God is favorable to us thanks to the only Son Jesus. To ask "In the Name of Jesus" means to identify with Jesus, his thought, his desires, his will, and implies that we accept God on our feelings, on our thoughts, on our decisions, on our whole life. Only through Jesus can we pray to God the Father.
Ephesians 6.18 : "Do all kinds of prayers and supplications in the Spirit at all times, watch with perseverance, and pray for all the saints."
Conclusion : we must pray by the Spirit, because our thoughts and desires are guided by the will of the Holy Spirit: we taste his communion. When we enter God's presence, we must look to Him for His Spirit to work in our hearts, warm us up, and lift us up in prayer. Then we can pray freely, in a direct, fervent and powerful way.
Philippians 4.6 : "Do not worry about anything, but in all things make your needs known to God by prayers and supplications, in an attitude of gratitude.And the peace of God, which goes beyond all that can be understood, will keep your heart and your thoughts in Jesus Christ." Amen!