Last week, I was speaking with someone here about a personal situation. There was fear and great concern in this person. I could sense that clearly. Seeing, and feeling, their heart-felt concern I simply answered with, “Pray.” After saying this, they asked me, “Can you teach me how?” Now, how could I miss an opportunity like this one?! This is something I will do for anyone, at any time and at any place.
Prayer is an integral piece of our relationship with God, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Without it, we cannot grow, and we close ourselves off from the great glory and wisdom our Lord has to offer us.
It is essential, to all of us, that we pray often remembering the lessons from our Bible as to why we should do so every day of our lives. Let’s talk a little this morning, once again, about prayer. We’ll try and cover the reasons why we should pray, how we shouldn’t go about it and the simplicity of how we should.
We Have Been Told to Pray
Throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament alike, we are told to pray. Not only has God commanded it, but Christ has taught us how it offers us peace in our lives and provides a means of release from the burdens we bear.
Our Enemies (Those Against Us)
We all have people in our lives that seem to be against us. No matter how hard we try, they just seem to continue in beating us down on anything we do.
Cleary, they don’t have the same compassion as us but, I’ll ask you… are we the ones the judge them? Should we condemn them and wish evil upon them? Jesus warned us otherwise.
Matthew 5:44 – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
I know how difficult that may seem to be for some of us but, praying for them, helps to take the burden of their dislike for us and puts it in God’s hands. This alone, should bring some peace to you… knowing that He will help you through your struggles with your enemies.
Sickness and Disease
We see a lot of sickness around us today. We, as a Church, pray every day for those around us afflicted by illness asking God to lay His healing hands upon them and restore their health. We know this is all possible as Christ has taught us.
James 5:15 – “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
One thing to remember here is, again as Christ taught us, that with man… not all things are possible but, with God, ALL things are possible.
We need to pray with sincere faith for those that are sick… and BELIEVE, all that we ask for, will be given to us and those we pray for.
Every Day Prayer
Here is another important thing to understand. Believe it or not, we sometimes have no worries and things are just working as we like them to. We get lucky, occasionally, and the cares of this world just might slip by us.
During these times too, we should be grateful and rejoice!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We are all sinners. If you are a Christian, you know this well. As hard as we try, we are human, and we do slip-up now and again.
I have good news, it’s okay! As long as we know this fact, trust in our Lord, and try our very best to avoid doing wrong… He will grant us forgiveness if we confess our understanding of what we’ve done to Him.
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Now, don’t take me wrong here and think, “Hey, it’s okay for me to sin, ‘cause Jesus will forgive me!” It isn’t “okay” to sin but, when we do make mistakes, understand that if we confess to God, we can be forgiven.
We all have received blessings from God. Some of us have and don’t even know it. Likewise, there are those that have and recognized it openly, and give thanks.
Let us all remember that, when we pray, regardless of why we may be praying, we should always give thanks. It is through thankfulness to God, we receive these blessings.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Giving thanks pleases God. He smiles down upon us and will send His blessings at the precise moment in time we need them the most.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 – “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Praying for Protection
We have talked about our enemies. We have discussed sickness and disease. Hopefully, we all understand how God will protect us from these things but, also, need to remember to ask Him for protection.
In The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:13 – “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
When the Apostles Needed Strength
Acts 4:31 – “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
Yes, they spoke boldly! Can you imagine the strength; physically, mentally and spiritually of being filled with the Holy Spirit? God’s Spirit! I’m sure, once you’ve recognize this fulfillment, you too would feel like an army could not defeat you and all trials put before you would become trivial.
When David, a Great Warrior Feared his Enemy
Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
…but even David remembered, as we have spoken of before, to “Look-Up!”
Psalm 16:18 – “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Learning how “not to pray” is probably just as important of understanding how to pray. God isn’t looking for great speeches and long-winded sagas from us. He, instead, looks for personal time with us… not to be recognized by others but spend time in company with Him and Him alone.
Matthew 6:5 – “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
Not Long-Winded Spiels
Matthew 6:7-8 – “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
We need to remain humble in our prayers. Remembering that we have made mistakes; we have committed sin and we are not above any of those around us who have done likewise.
Luke 18:10-14 – “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’”
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
See? It’s simple… humble yourselves before God and, when your time has come to leave this place, you will be exalted!
How to Pray
Okay, now on to the best part. The part that I believe, and I think Jesus would back me up on, is so utterly simple to do. Here is what Jesus taught us in Matthew on how easy it is to please God.
Matthew 5:6 – “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Don’t worry about the “complexity” of your prayer or using the “right words.” God hears all and already knows what you need.
Matthew 6:8 – “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Simply talk to Him. Give him thanks and praise His name. Talk to Him as you would talk to your earthly Father. Thank Him first and then tell Him of your worries and fears and how they eat at you so… but keep it simple and in a casual fashion.
As you just heard. Our Father knows our true needs. Remember, He isn’t going to grant you riches or wealth, but He will grant you compassion, comfort, understanding and wisdom and, with these gifts from Him, all that you need will be provided you.
When You’re Unsure
Stressed for time? Afraid to ask for something you don’t deserve or just a little nervous about talking to the most-high God? Jesus gave us a solution for that too.
Matthew 6 – The Lord’s Prayer, from the Sermon on The Mount.
A Little Girl’s Prayer
While I was browsing the Internet for articles on the simplicity of prayer, I came across this prayer from a little girl. She was in Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital diagnosed with cancer that was beyond treatment.
She has since passed and when her parents were going through her things, they found this prayer to God crumpled-up in her book-bag.
I haven’t been feeling too good lately, but I know you know that. I know you’re looking down on me and giving me hugs and kisses every day. I talk to your Angels every night before I go to sleep. They are so nice to me!
God, I need to talk to you about Mommy and Daddy. They have been crying a lot lately and I really don’t know why. They always taught me about you and we pray together all the time.
We pray in the morning when we get up; we pray when I get home after school to help me learn things; and we always pray the most right before my bedtime to thank you for all that you give to us.
My Daddy is a super-good Daddy! He works hard for Mommy and me, so we always have something to eat and a place to live too. Every night, just before we pray, he reads me a bedtime story. He is the best-est at reading ‘cause he always uses funny voices for the different people in my storybooks.
My Mommy is the best Mommy ever! She takes really good care of me; washes my clothes; cooks all the time for Daddy and me; and takes time to drive me to school and pick me up in the afternoon. I like the talks we have on our rides.
I guess Mommy and Daddy are sad now because you might be taking me home soon. I don’t know why they are so sad ‘cause I know you will take very good care of me too. Mommy and Daddy told me how much you Love all of us, even the bad people.
Can you do me a favor God? Will you please take care of my Mommy and Daddy, so they don’t cry so much? I don’t want them to be sad and I want them to know I am coming to Heaven to play with all the other little boys and girls.
Will you find someone that Daddy can read stories to? I know he likes them just as much as I do ‘cause he always giggles when I giggle at him. Maybe the Angels would like to hear his stories? Oh, and God, please let Daddy know how Baby Jesus will be reading to me at night just like he did.
My Mommy is going to miss riding in the car with me. Do your Angels like riding in cars? Tell them to don’t be afraid and remember to wear their seat-belts. Make sure that you send her an Angel that’s good at making stories up. Mommy says that’s not really lying ‘cause we’re just being silly. She’s going to need those stories God.
Just one more thing God, just so you know. I know you didn’t give me this sickness so I’m not mad at you. I know how much you Love me and I am looking forward to meeting your little boy face-to-face. He is such a good boy.
Thank you, God, for listening to me. If you decide to take me home tonight, please let Mommy and Daddy know every day how much I Love them and wipe the tears off their faces. Mommy really doesn’t like to cry ‘cause it makes her make-up get all smeary even though Daddy keeps telling her how pretty she is without it.
Oh, and God… I Love you too!
How simple, yet so perfect, was her prayer. She knew she was going to Heaven soon but, because her parents had taught her all about God, she only feared for her parents and wanted Him to care for them when she had gone.
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Our Father in Heaven Loves us greatly! He is with us always and has already given us so much in this life. Nobody here on earth knows you more than the Father. He is looking for nothing from you other than thanks and humility.
He isn’t concerned that you aren’t a “wordy” or “highly-educated” person with great vocabulary. A simple “Thank you God for all that you’ve given me” will suffice with Him. Thank Him… thank Him for the sacrifice of His only Son and express your Love for Him as well. Confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness and it will be granted to you.
He will listen and hear your prayers!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)