What about Prayer?
Born Again - to know God
God has saved us so that we can have fellowship with him and he with us. As we get to know him more, our fellowship with him deepens and grows, and he becomes more and more precious to us.
There are two most important ways that we build our relationship with God - reading his Word and through prayer.
Getting to know God through personal prayer
It is important to establish a regular, daily prayer life, because it is through prayer that we speak to God and he speaks to us.
We can be tempted to think that prayer is for the experts, but Jesus' advice in the following verses is really uncomplicated: "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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 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. 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 6:5-8).
Jesus shows us what our attitude to prayer should be and that we don't have to use fancy words. He then goes on to say that it is important to find somewhere quiet where we can pray without too many distractions. Seems like sensible advice.
Various aspects of prayer come together in what's called the Lord's Prayer which appears in Matthew 6:9-13. Here it is. I expect you recognise it:
9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
In these verses Jesus is talking to his disciples about prayer. He isn't so much giving them a prayer to pray but a guide to show them how to pray.
He begins (vs.9) by showing we pray to God, and that God is our Father and our Father lives in heaven.
He then goes on to show how should we approach him (vs.9-10) - with reverence and respect. He is showing us that part of prayer is worship - giving thanks and praise to God and acknowledging his goodness.
When we have done this we can rightly begin to ask God for our daily needs (vs.11), and remember - 'our daily bread' is a focus for all our needs, spiritual, physical and mental.
He also shows us that a vital part of prayer is repentance and forgiving others, reminding us to be sure that we are 'right with God' and other people (vs.12 - see also vs.14).
Finally, he reminds us we need God's help in overcoming temptations and other difficulties and encourages us to pray about these things, believing God for answers to prayer. It's a request for help to live God's way (vs. 13).
As we practice praying, we learn to listen to God, to recognise his voice, so that our prayer can become a two-way conversation.
Having a 'Quiet Time'
It is important to set up time each day when you can read the Bible and pray. Some Christians call this a 'Quiet Time'.
Use what follows to plan yours.
1: Invite the Holy Spirit to come and help you to draw near to God.
2: Read a passage from the Bible.
3: Spend time reflecting on what you've read.
The Prayer time
1: Thank God for what he has done for you and others.
2: Praise God for being who he is.
3: Confess any known sin and ask his forgiveness.
4: Pray for others.
5: Pray for yourself.
Make a note of people or situations you will pray for regularly:
In the morning - commit the day to God.
In the evening - thank him for all he has done.
Access this link if you would like a Quiet Time Planner.
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