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How Should I Pray? (Y1.T2.D14)

Unsplash; "Brian Lundquist"


Today's passages offer a great starting place if you are new to prayer or don't feel particularly good at it. Neither of those positions should embarrass you. One of the disciples who spent every day with Jesus asked, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1).

This request produced the often-quoted Lord's Prayer (aka The Disciples Prayer), which begins with "Our Father" and provides a great example of prayer content.

I don't know who first broke the prayer into the acronym A.C.T.S., but it is very useful if you are looking for what to include in your conversations with God. It consists of:

A for Adoration (praising God for who he is)

C for Confession (acknowledging who we are)

T for Thanksgiving (gratitude for what he's done for us)

S for Supplication (asking for what we need from him)

You can't go wrong including these items in every conversation you have with your heavenly Father and in this order.

Joshua 1:8 says, "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success." Clearly, memorizing Scripture and meditating on it is a great idea—as long as you follow Jesus' instruction: "In praying, don't use vain repetitions as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking" (Matthew 6:7).

Sincerity is the first and most important method of communicating with God, while content is a distant second. Matthew 6:7 warns against the constant repeating of words without thought and is a great example of why we must not approach God insincerely.

With that said, it is perfectly okay to beg or nag God, which will be covered in an upcoming post. For now, the best and first step is to approach the Lord with an honest heart, then use the A.C.T.S. method as a guide to the words you think or say aloud.

Remember sincerity first, content second.

Teach Me, Lord

1 When he finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)

5 “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5–8)

Matthew 6:9–13a, Luke 11:2–4

13b For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:13b–15)

5 He said to them, “Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,’ 7 and he from within will answer and say, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give it to you’? 8 I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs. (Luke 11:5–8)

Matthew 7:7–10, Luke 11:9–11

12 Or if he asks for an egg, he won’t give him a scorpion, will he? (Luke 11:12)

Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13

12 Therefore, whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

1 To you, Yahweh, I call.

My rock, don’t be deaf to me,

lest, if you are silent to me,

I would become like those who go down into the pit.

2 Hear the voice of my petitions, when I cry to you,

when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

3 Don’t draw me away with the wicked,

with the workers of iniquity who speak peace with their neighbors,

but mischief is in their hearts.

4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings.

Give them according to the operation of their hands.

Bring back on them what they deserve.

5 Because they don’t respect the works of Yahweh,

nor the operation of his hands,

he will break them down and not build them up.

6 Blessed be Yahweh,

because he has heard the voice of my petitions.

7 Yahweh is my strength and my shield.

My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped.

Therefore my heart greatly rejoices.

With my song I will thank him.

8 Yahweh is their strength.

He is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed.

9 Save your people,

and bless your inheritance.

Be their shepherd also,

and bear them up forever. (Psalm 28:1–9)

Meditation Moment

Dear God,

I lift my voice in praise to You. I praise You in Your sanctuary! I praise You in Your heavens for Your mighty acts! I praise You according to Your excellent greatness! (Psalm 150:1–2). I confess my sins to You knowing You are faithful and righteous to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). I enter this moment with thanksgiving, blessing Your name (Psalm 100:4). And I lay every need and want I have at Your feet.


Meditation Music Link


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