Did you know that God is eager and anxious for you to talk to Him? God talks to us through the Holy Bible. But communication is a two-way street. God also wants us to talk to Him. But how? Through prayer! Prayer is personal, intimate, understanding communication with the Supreme Power of the universe. In this study, you will learn how to establish direct, personal contact with God. You'll learn step-by-step how to talk to God in a meaningful and effective manner. But before you begin, be sure to get your Bible, a pen or pencil and some paper. Reading and writing out the Bible verses that answer the questions asked in this study will help you to remember the important principles you will be learning. 1. Does God want us to seek Him and make our requests known? Isaiah 55:6-7, Philippians 4:6. God wants us to tell Him, as we would a close friend, how we feel and what we think. We do this through heartfelt prayer. Prayer is simply our part of a two-way conversation with God. God speaks to us through the Bible and we speak to Him through prayer. In this way we get to know God, and He comes to know us. 2. Does God hear and delight in the prayers of those who seek to please Him and do His will? I Peter 3:12, Psalm 34:17, Proverbs 15:8, I John 3:22, 5:14-15. 3. Did Jesus Christ, who talked often to His heavenly Father, have absolute confidence that God always heard His prayers? John 11:41-44. 4. Did one of Christ's disciples, who was well aware of His closeness to the Father, ask Him to teach them how to pray? Luke 11:1. (Christ's instructions on prayer are found in Luke 11 and Matthew 6.) Jesus gave His disciples a model prayer after which to pattern their own prayers. 5. Did Jesus tell His disciples to repeat His example prayer over and over again, or did He tell them to pray in a similar way? Matthew 6:9. Had He just before this told them not to repeat the exact same prayer every time? Verse 7. Christ was simply outlining the correct approach to God in prayer and the basic things we should include in our prayers. Let's study Christ's inspired guide to prayer and learn how to talk to God. 6. Did Jesus say to pray in a private place? Matthew 6:5-6. And did He set an example by spending the first part of His day in prayer - before anything else could interrupt? Mark 1:35. It is important to pray in a private place perhaps in a bedroom, a spare room in the attic or even a closet. One should also set aside a regular time to pray. For many people the morning is best - before the school or work day gets started. 7. Notice how Jesus began His sample prayer. To whom did He say we should pray? Matthew 6:9. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us (John 1:18), and He always addressed the Father in His prayers. God the Father sits on a majestic throne in heaven surrounded by dazzling beauty (see Revelation 4:1-11). When we talk to Him, we are having a personal audience with the Supreme Ruler of the universe! 8. Should we "hallow," or honor, the Father's name when we pray to Him? Matthew 6:9, last part. Did David, a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), address God in an attitude of praise, worship and adoration? Psalm 18:1-3. As we begin our prayers, we should not only address and think of God as our Father, but also honor and praise His name, His office, His character and His great love for mankind. We should be sure to thank Him for our very existence, for our parents and the material things we possess. 9. How did Jesus continue His sample prayer? Matthew 6:10, first sentence. When we pray "Your kingdom come," we are asking for and looking forward to the time when God's literal government will be established on this earth through the return of Jesus Christ as "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:16). There will be peace, happiness and prosperity in the world tomorrow because all mankind will know and follow God's way (Isaiah 11:9). The Ten Commandments will then be the standard for daily life everywhere. 10. What did Jesus say in the second part of Matthew 6:10? Be sure to ask God to help you understand and do His will. Ask Him to help you study and understand the Bible, which reveals what we are, why we are and how to live so we may achieve His awesome purpose for our lives. 11. What is the next request of Jesus' sample prayer? Matthew 6:11. Can we ask this in confidence if we are seeking to do God's will to the best of our ability? Matthew 6:33, I John 3:22. We need to ask God to supply our daily needs. Go into detail about what they are.
God wants us to talk to Him to tell Him, as we would a close friend, how we feel and what we think. (Photos by Nathan Faulkner)
Be sure to ask God to bless your parents so they may provide the family with adequate food, clothing, shelter and other necessities. God knows of these needs even before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). However, He has not promised to automatically supply what we do not ask for (James 4:2-3). Christ set the example of praying for others needs as well (John 17:20). This is a vital part of God's way of give. 12. Should we also ask God to forgive us of our sins? Matthew 6:12. (The word debts here refers to sins.) All of us sin daily by breaking God's commandments in one way or another. We need to recognize and repent of our daily sins, and then ask our loving and merciful Father to forgive us (Psalm 86:5). 13. But must we also be forgiving toward others? "Matthew 6:12, 14-15. Remember that God will forgive us only if we are willing to forgive others. So we should ask God to help us be forgiving and merciful, especially to those who may have offended or hurt us in some way. 14. What is the last request of Jesus' example prayer? Matthew 6:13, first sentence. But doesn't the Bible state that God does not tempt any one? James 1:13. Is it rather the devil and his demons who are out to tempt and harm us? I Peter 5:8. Jesus' statement in Matthew 6:13 is better translated: "Bring us not into sore trial, but deliver us from the evil one [Satan the devil]." We should pray daily and earnestly that God would not allow us to be brought into any severe trial or temptation, and that He would give us the help to master wrong desires and to do His will. 15. Before closing our prayers, in whose name should we acknowledge that we are praying? John 16:23, second sentence. All our requests should be made in Jesus' name. We can rightfully ask the Father for things "in Jesus' name" when we know it is His will that His authority stands behind our requests! 16. How did Jesus say we should close our prayers to the Father? Matthew 6:13, last part. Jesus' inspired outline of prayer ends with praise and adoration of the Father just as it began. This reminds us once again to whom we are praying and of the character and office of the true God who rules His vast creation. Finally, as Jesus shows by this example prayer, we are to conclude with the word amen. Amen simply means "be it so." If you haven't begun to do so, start now to establish direct contact with the Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of the entire universe. Talk to God every day. You'll begin to experience the truly successful life God wants you to enjoy. For God takes great delight in all those who talk to Him!