Have you ever asked God to teach you to pray? You might ask,”What is there to learn?” The Jews have a custom to pray three times a day. A custom that is very old … even Daniel kept this custom on penalty of death!
Daniel 6:10 “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”
In 1 Kings 8: 28-30, King Solomon prayed that God would hear anyone who prayed toward the temple in Jerusalem. And in verses 46-52 he prayed for people, like Daniel, who would have to pray to God while in captivity.
A people who pray three times a day must know a lot about praying, and yet in Yeshua’s time, His disciples asked Him how to pray. Is there something about praying that we can only learn from God?
Luke 11:1-13 “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; ‘for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; “and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? “I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. ” So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? “Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 6:5-13 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. “In this manner, therefore, 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 this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Yeshua, God’s Son, teaches us. . .
• The importance of forgiveness in prayer … Mark 11:25-26 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
• To pray for our enemies … Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
• To have faith … Mark 11:22-24 “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Luke 18:1-8 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. “Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ “And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, ‘yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ “Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
• To pray with humbleness … Luke 18: 9-14 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
• To pray so that we would not enter into temptation … Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
That constantly praying and watching is very important, in being prepared for His return …
Mark 13:32-37 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming — in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning — “lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Luke 21:34-36 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. “For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Through His example He also teaches us …
• Yeshua prayed to His Father with respect and love, and also prayed for us … John 17:1- 26 … (please read it for yourself)
• To pray in a private place,”the secret place” Matthew 14:22-23 ”Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.”
• To pray that God’s will be done. Matthew 26:42 ”Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:52-54 “But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
Prayer from a “Man After God’s own Heart” King David was very close to God, his prayers are a witness of this. He was a good example to follow. He prayed to the LORD for help, praised Him for helping him in times past, and had confidence that He would also help him now; Psalm 3:1-8.
He sang praises to Him; Psalm 8:1.
In times when God seemed to be far away, David prayed, and expressed his worry, and God reminded him that He had never failed him before; and he again had faith that all would be well; Psalm 13:1- 6.
He asked God to forgive his sins; Psalm 25:14-18.
He asked the LORD to teach him; Psalm 25:4. … and many more.
Our prayers are described as incense going up to the LORD … Our prayers are like sweet incense and are most holy, set apart and extremely important, to the LORD. Exodus 30:35-38 “You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. “And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. “But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD. “Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”
Psalm 141:1-2 “A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
Revelation 5:8 “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 8:3-4 “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.”
These verses are only a small part of what we can find in the Bible about prayer. Even if we studied just these alone, there is still much we can gain from them. If we can get a lot out of this little bit, just think what it would be like if we understood everything about prayer? This makes me think about God’s love, and how vast it is, even beyond our understanding.
I don’t understand much about prayer yet.
I don’t quite know how much more there is to be learned, but I know it’s all important.
I challenge you to study the Bible more than just reading this article. I hope that God will stir in you the desire to ask Him to “teach you to pray”. Prayer is something that should be taken a lot more seriously than what some people do. It is a major way to communicate with our Father in Heaven. If anyone has done a study on this, please share it. I know if it is in His will, it will make a lot of difference.
Shalom and love be to you.