There is something which many people claim to be prayer but I do not believe it is. At least I do not believe God honors it as such. It involves selfishness and making bargains with God. "If you do this for me God, then I will do this for you." That is not prayer!
First of all, while prayer can certainly entail "requests" of God it should never be limited to that. Prayer is communication with God. Prayer recognizes who God is and gives Him the honor and respect due Him. Prayer recognizes that we are not God, He is and that we do indeed need a Savior!
It is easy to slip into the wrong attitude of prayer. This is why I think the Lord's prayer is such a great example to follow. I'm not talking about reciting it but the format. When Jesus' disciples asked Him to pray, this is the example He used. I think it was an example for us as well.
Jesus starts out recognizing who God is and giving Him praise and glory. I think whenever possible, our prayers need to start out like that. I believe it puts things into proper perspective and helps us have the right attitude before God. We are acknowledging who God is... and who we are not. We are not God and we have no right to deny anything of Him. Indeed, we have no right to come before Him even except for the fact that Christ died for us that we might be saved. It is only because of God's love, mercy and grace that we can come before Him. We must never forget that.
Next, we must acknowledge God's will above our own. I think this is where many Christians falter. They come to God and declare what they want but they fail to be willing to yield to God's will. As Christians we must lay down our own will and take up God's!
Now we have prepared our heart for prayer. We have recognized that God is God and we are not. We have laid our will at His feet and taken up His will. In other words, we are in a state of relinquishment rather than rebellion.
It is interesting how everything leads back to the garden... the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemene... two men... one made the choice to do his own will and one yielded His will to the Father's will.
Now we are free to lay down our petitions before God for we have yielded our will to His will. We can accept whatever God's response is whether it is what we wanted or not. It is no longer about us... it is about Him! Praise God!
The prayer ends as it began... giving praise and honor to God. Prayer must always be wrapped up with that. Indeed, I believe there should be far more praise than there is asking. Prayer is far more than "asking" for something. It is communion with God and needs to be treated as such.
Amen Sis...I agree whole-heartedly. In fact Philippians 4 tells us by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make our requests known to God. Most people don't notice the fact that prayer and supplication are mentioned as two distinct acts. Prayer being communication with God, and supplication being petitioning God for specific needs. Then thanksgiving is also mentioned as a separate act. If we follow the prescription layed out for us in Philippians 4, we would: 1) Pray to God establishing our line of communication with the Father 2) Ask for what we or others need, then 3) Give God thanks in advance through faith for what He is already working out for us.
Amen. I try to pray sometimes, only Praising Him, and thanking Him. Afterall, He already knows what we want and need. He really doesn't need for us to tell Him. So, why does he say that we should ask for our "daily bread?" I think it is because he wants us to acknowledge that we depend on Him.Yet, we ask and do not receive because we ask out of selfishness.. we focus on our own selfish desires.
Praise is one type of communication we can have with God, just like intercession, and Thanksgiving. I think it would be great to try to dedicate a whole prayer to each separately on occasion.