How to Pray

“How to Pray”
Matthew 6:5-8


  • I believe that every Christian should know how to pray. I have shared this with you before but not to this extent. Let us learn from Jesus…

I.  How Do We Pray?

  A) Jesus shows the disciples

  • WHY was Jesus showing these disciples how to pray?
  1. Because they did not know how.
  2. They were taught wrong by bad examples.
  3. They needed to know how God expected them to pray.
  • Jesus starts out advising them…
  1. When you prayMatthew 6:5…And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
  2. Place of prayer Verse 6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
  3. The Heart of Prayerverse 7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
  4. Trust an omniscient God verse 8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
  • Matthew 6:9-13 is considered to be “The Lord’s Prayer” by many Christians. But the truth of the matter is that this passage of scripture is only an example for His followers (disciples) to pattern their prayers by.
  • The real “Lord’s Prayer” was prayed in John 17 as He prayed a selfless prayer for His disciples.

  B) Prayers from the heart

  • God looks at our prayers and answers them according to our heart. Look at Noah’s heart after God was gracious to him and his family in Genesis 8:20And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 22) And the LORD smelled a sweet savour;
  • Pay close attention to the verbiage here in verse 22… And the LORD smelled a sweet savour;” The word written in the KJV Bible as “savour” is like our words today being aroma, odor, or taste.
  • God was not pleased with the sweet smell or aroma of the animals Noah had sacrificed to God. There was no sweet aroma coming from the billows of the blood soaked plumes.
  • God was pleased at the work Noah preformed for God that was generated from a heart of thankfulness to God “who saved a wretch like me.”
  • “…and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.

   C) Jesus shows us an example

  • In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gives His disciples this example of how to pray.
  • There are 6 requests in this example of prayer, 3 are directed to God (verses 9, 10) while the other 3 (in verses 11-13) are directed towards the needs of the person praying…
  1. Verse 9b)”… Our Father which art in heaven,” Make sure that it is clear to whom you are praying to. When you open your prayer with “Our Father in Heaven” it is only speaking of God the creator of heaven and earth and no other god exists in heaven.
  2. “…Hallowed be thy name.” The word “hallowed” means holy, set apart as holy, celebrated as holy. His name is above all names. And we must show honor to Him by glorifying His name in our prayers.
  3. 10) Thy kingdom come. We are to ask that God may reign (rule) our bodies as well as everywhere. His laws are established and to be obeyed.
  4. 10b) Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We are to submit to His will being done in our lives according to His plan and purpose.
  5. “…Give us this day our daily bread.”  This is praying for what your necessities are. This is showing your dependency upon God. The words “daily bread” denotes things necessary to sustain life (To keep you alive).
  6. 12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This is not talking about money debts or bills owed. Realize that you are in debt to God for your sins committed in this life. Jesus is talking about a spiritual debt that each Christians owes. What this verse means to say is this “Forgive our sins and help us to forgive those who sin against us.” This should be “the heart” of our prayers. In fact, Jesus expounded on this part of the prayer in verses 14 and 15. We are to always ask God to forgive us our sins, and forgive those who sin against us.
  7. 13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: This verse would be better rendered as “Do not allow us to be tempted to sin, protect us from the power of Satan.” (Also see Psalms 141:4)
  8. 13b) “…For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. In closing out our prayer we are to acknowledge God as being the ruler over us, the most powerful of all powers, and all glory is due Him… FOREVER, not just while we are on this earth.
  9. Amen.” Typically this word means “so be it” or “it is true.” I would like to think that it gives tribute to Jesus Christ “The Amen” mentioned in Revelation 3:14… “…the faithful and true witness.”
  • This wonderful example of how we are to pray, shows us that we are to pray in honor to God, acknowledging His holiness and authority.

II. The Results of Prayer   

  A) Praying when sin still resides (lives in your heart)

  • James 4:1…From whence come wars and fightings among you? James is asking them “where did all this fighting come from that is in the church between members?”
  • “…come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”
  • James now answers that question “It starts within your own sinful lusts that you battle with daily in human nature.”
  • Verse 2a) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: James is basically saying here that you are so bent on getting what you want that you will kill yourself and others trying to get it.
  • Verse 2b) “…ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. “You are so focused on trying to get what you want that you fail to do the simplest thing of all which is to “ask God.”
  • Do you know why people are afraid to ask anyone anything? They are afraid of rejection. They fear what the answer may be.  
  • God always gives us an answer. Always! Many times we may not like the answer.
  • As a young man, I never dated until I was a senior in High School. And even then, I was always afraid of asking a girl for a date. WHY? I was afraid she would say NO!
  • God wants to answer our prayers in a way that would be pleasurable to us. All we have to do is ask.
  • When you love someone very much you will want to give them anything that they ask for with no reserve. God is no different

  B) Whatever we pray for

  • Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22…And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. And in John 14:13 …And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
  • This is very true. All we have to do is pray to God believing that our Lord will petition our prayer to God believing that He will grant us what we ask for. AND, He promises to give us what we ask for if we ask in Jesus name.
  • When you ask “in Jesus name” does not mean that God will stamp your ticket for a free haircut or place to park. To say in “Jesus name” should come from a heart that 1) is praying for His purpose and kingdom, 2) recognizes that Jesus is to get the credit for answered prayer, 3) Gives God the glory for any result of the prayer.

  C) Asking amiss (selfish reasons)

  • James 4:3…Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
  • “ye ask amiss” means that you are asking God for him to aid in your selfish desires or self satisfaction…
  • I would say in reserve that it is very likely that 80% of our prayers to God are selfish prayers.
  • Typical unbelievers and new converts are the ones who pray this way. WHY? Because they are not trained, and if they are trained it is wrong.

 III. The Model Prayer for You to Pray

  A) The “ACTS” Prayer

  • This is an idea I got off the internet. I believe it will help us to easily remember the way for us to pray.
  • The word “ACTS” is an acronym meaning this….

A – Adoration towards God. Honor him by acknowledging Him as Lord of our life. Telling God how we feel about Him, how wonderful He is and etc.

C – Confession. Confession of our daily sins. Also confessing to God the fact that we fail in our efforts of trying to be holy as He is holy.

T – Thanksgiving. Thanking God for His grace towards us. Thank Him for the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the Cross. Thank Him for our needs, etc.

S – Supplication. This is a plea or begging towards God on your behalf or on the behalf of those you are praying for.