How do I pray?

For Christians, it seems like this would just come naturally.  It seems like we should be able to just pour our hearts out to God. That isn’t always the case. The truth is, Jesus gives us a model in Matthew 6:9-13:

This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Glory,

for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) (KJV ending)

At Wayside, we like to use the P.R.A.Y. acrostic.  We didn’t invent it but it serves us well, and fits the model that Jesus laid out for us.

  • P is for Praise: We should always offer praise to God as we begin our prayers.  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
  • R is for Repent: Christians should always approach God with a heart of repentance.  “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
  • A is for Ask: God wants us to ask for things (that doesn’t mean we are going to get it) but we should lift our prayer petitions up to Him.  Intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others.  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
  • Y is for Yield: It is really easy to lose sight of the fact that God is in control of all things.  We should let His will be done.  Not ours.  “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Glory, for ever. Amen.”

We have all probably met someone in our life that is able to publicly pray these extravagant and beautiful prayers.  God doesn’t say we have to pray like that.  He does give us a perfect model from the only perfect person; Jesus Christ.