Getting Prayer Right……By Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer…..
You can’t understand prayer until you properly understand God. Prayer. It shouldn’t be a last ditch effort to get what we want. It should be like oxygen: something we can’t live without. Our first concern with prayer should always be the glory of God—His faithfulness and mercy toward us. Secondly, if our prayers don’t lead us to yield to God’s will, we haven’t really prayed. And finally, we need to be persistent. If all of our praying consists of “I need…” there is no relationship with God. We’re not making room for Him in our lives. We need to learn to just enjoy God without coming to Him with a list of “needs.” So, what is the proper way to pray? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words. The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. It is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customising” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.