Matthew 6:9 (CSB) Therefore, you should pray like this
Luke 11:1 (CSB) He was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”
How do you do that? First, God has to do the work in order for you to believe and trust in him.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
All of the Sunday School, seminary, church services, being a preacher's kid, read all the theology books, consistent on your daily Bible readings--none of that will get you to love and worship God. God will have to change your heart and change your mind first.
Now, if you don't believe and trust in God, and you still want to pray to Him. Go for it. But you are going to have to ask for something first.
Luke 11:9-13 (CSB) “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
What is the point?
God is the ultimate good. Go to God and ask for God. When you do that, you will get God.
You have to have God first before you can pray to him. How do you pray to God when you don't have God? That doesn't make sense.
Matthew 14:22-23 (CSB) Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone.
Matthew 19:13-15 (CSB) Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Leave the little children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After placing his hands on them, he went on from there.
Matthew 26:36-41 (CSB) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Luke 6:12-16 (CSB) During those days he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came, he summoned his disciples, and he chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Luke 9:28-29 (CSB) About eight days after this conversation, he took along Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
John 17:9-19 (CSB) I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them. I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
5 Whenever you pray...
6 But when you pray...
7 When you pray....
9Therefore, you should pray like this...
Matthew 9:35-38 (CSB) Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
Matthew 18:15-20 (CSB) “If your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church. If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
Matthew 26:41 (CSB) Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Mark 11:24-25 (CSB) Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”
Mark 13:14-20 (CSB) “When you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be” (let the reader understand), “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. A man on the housetop must not come down or go in to get anything out of his house, and a man in the field must not go back to get his coat. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days!
“Pray it won’t happen in winter. For those will be days of tribulation, the kind that hasn’t been from the beginning of creation until now and never will be again. If the Lord had not cut those days short, no one would be saved. But he cut those days short for the sake of the elect, whom he chose.
Luke 6:27-28 (CSB) But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 18:1-8 (CSB) Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up. “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect people. And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
“For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect people, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so that she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’”
Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them? I tell you that he will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB) Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I don't care how you get it done. If you need to set ten reminders on your phone. Do it. You need to set 100 alarms. Do it. Install a thousand apps. Do it. Pray once. Pray several times throughout the day. Do it.
If you stop praying for a while, get back on the horse. Don't grieve over not praying. Just pray.
“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach. - Charles Spurgeon
Some of y'all act like prayer doesn't work.
James 1:5-8 (CSB) Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.
That's called double-mindedness. Don't pray if you don't think God will answer. You pray because you know that God will answer.
Let me give you a real life example.
I know this little old lady. Lived to about 88 years old. Love the Lord her God. Was blessed with a husband, three boys and adopted a little girl. This little old lady prayed every day and every night that God would save her family.
Husband lost his good sense and ran away with some other woman. This lady promptly drove to Phoenix in their family station wagon, picked his sorry butt up and brought him home. A few months later was diagnosed with prostate cancer and passed away after that diagnosis pretty quickly.
The little old lady continued to pray.
Their youngest son was the worst kind of human being. Porn absolutely wrecked his life. So much so, he sexually abused his own children, got caught, and then got sent to prison for about 400 years before he died in prison.
The little old lady continued to pray.
And then his son (her grandson), while thank God did not hurt any children, did the lion's share of his own sexual immorality. You might be thinking, "Lion's share? How can you top adultery and child molestation?" Her grandson was introduced by his dad to porn at the age of 5. And it had gripped his heart for all of his life. His addiction became so crippling that he went to go work in the porn industry just as the internet was coming online. Websites, servers, photos, videos, recruiting--whatever it took in order to feed his wicked heart.
Yet, the little old lady continued to pray.
How did God respond to this little old pray who prayed for years... up until a half a century?
After yanking her husband back from Phoenix, her husband came to know Christ and repenting of all his sins. Shortly thereafter, around 42 years old, he died from cancer and went to be with the Lord.
Her son, who was rotting away in prison, wasn't saved by Christ until he was 56--20 some odd years after being in prison. God gripped his heart so hard, that he gave up what little he had to be with God. Even his supposed future freedom. When he was finally up for parole, he declined. When the board asked him why, he simply stated, "There are many men in this place who are in darkness. I have the light of God in me. If I leave, who will show them the light of Christ? Therefore, I have to stay." He continued to do ministry for a few more years until he went to be with the Lord.
Her grandson, foolishly thought he was saved from damnation and death just because he had said some sinner's prayer when he was 8 years old. Never mind the fact that he was dealing in so much porn and living the most depraved, sexual immoral life with no repentance. But then, right before his 32nd birthday, God grabbed a whole of this man's heart. This man laid everything down and repented before God. Did the young man's life suddenly became awesome and easy? Nope. But this man knew he belonged to God and God belonged to him forever.
This little old lady, by God's sweet grace, got to see each of her prayers answered before she went to be with God.
If this story sounds a little bit personal, because it is. That little old lady was my grandma. Her name is Frances and her husband's name was Jack. Her youngest son in the story, who ended up dying while doing ministry in prison? His name was Joseph.
His oldest son, the grandson in the story, is me. I am Joseph Jr.. I was the grandson with the crippling porn addiction and the jacked up, messed up life to show for it.
My grandma contended for our lives. And each of us Louthan men went to the utter extremes of sin and depravity to find out that none of that was remotely satisfying. We have sinned way more than the average man. Yet, I know for a fact that God is the mighty one who saves. God asks in Isaiah, "Is my arm too short to save anyone?" I promise you cannot out sin the salvation of God.
So when Christ commands us to "go and pray", we pray because that is when we get to see the glory of God.
I hear Your words. You have given me a new heart, and now I gladly receive Your words. It is because You gave me a new heart, it is now that I can do what You have commanded me to do.
My Lord and my God, You have taught me and shown me what it is like to speak to our Father. Your instruction, Your communion, Your relationship, Your bond with the Father is on display here for me to see and learn as the example. It is so evident in the Gospels that you missed your Father so very much and took every opportunity to go and talk with him.
Sometimes when I am so happy and joyful, I will forget to spend time with you. Sometimes when I am in sin, I am too scared to go to my God. Sometimes I am too apathetic and I do not care to go to God. Sometimes I worry, I am anxious, and I tend to trust in what I can do or what I can see before my eyes instead of believing in Him who has already done the work. Lord, please help me do what You do because at that time with my Father is so precious and so good. Lord, help me do what You do because no other god can help me. You alone are the One True God. Lord, help me do what You do because Father, Son, and Spirit are One and because all that You have done, You are now in me and with me. Because of You, You are mine, and I am Yours always.
Help me not to deprive of my time with you. Help me do what You do.