Biblical Prayer:

How to Pray – Privately How to Pray – Corporately More About Biblical Prayer

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How to Pray – Privately

Matthew 6:6; Mark 1:35, 7:33-34, 14:32; Matthew 14:23; Luke 5:15-16, 6:12, 9:18 (10/19/08)

Of all the important figures in the Bible, Jesus is clearly the most important.  He is also the one whose prayers are clearly the most effective.  Wouldn't you love to know what he said in his prayers?  With very few exceptions, we have no clue.  Jesus taught and practiced private prayer.  When he was talking with God, he went off by himself to pray.  He didn't come back and tell his disciples, "I said this, and God said that."  Aside from the lengthy "high priestly prayer" at the Last Supper and a few brief blessings, Jesus' prayers are not recorded.  Personal prayer is personal.

Today’s Prayer:

How to Pray – Corporately

Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:1-2a, Adoration and recognition of God’s holiness (10.21.10)

Yesterday we saw that when Jesus was praying, he normally prayed very privately.  Corporate prayer is also important, however, and the only prayer Jesus ever taught, the Lord's Prayer, is a corporate prayer.  Notice the pronouns:  Teach us to pray, When y'all pray, Our Father.  Remember the ACTS that we talked about back in the first week of this study? The Lord's prayer has all of these; it begins with Adoration.

Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2b, Alignment with the will of God (10/22/08)

When we pray the Lord's prayer, we ask for God's kingdom – God's rule – to come to earth, and for God's will to be done here.  What if that happened?  What if you and I actually tried to act according to the rules of God's kingdom and to do God's will?  I suspect we usually pray for God to change everybody else, when maybe we should be praying for God to change us.  I'll say again, the most important function of prayer is to align my will with the will of God.

Matthew 6:11-12; Luke 11:3-4a; Mark 11:25, Supplication and Request for forgiveness (10/23/08)

Don't be reluctant to ask God to give you what you need for yourself – but do remember that this is a corporate prayer.  "Dear God, I really need a million dollars so I can take a trip around the world" may not get the results you have in mind, and it certainly isn't what the Lord's Prayer is asking.  We need to forgive other people both as individuals and as the body of Christ – forgive us, as we have forgiven.  Even the verse from Mark is in the plural – "When y'all are praying, if y'all are mad at somebody, forgive them, so that y'alls Father in Heaven will forgive y'all."   

Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4b, Supplication (10/24/08)

Today we come to the end of our study on Biblical Prayer, and to the end of the Lord's Prayer.  No indeed, I have not left off the ending in Luke.  The words we all know, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever [and ever], Amen," do not appear in Luke as part of the Lord's Prayer.  As a matter of fact, in many modern translations they don't appear in Matthew, because they are not in the best of the Greek manuscripts.  On the other hand, some of the modern translations say "deliver us from the evil one," instead of the old reliable, "deliver us from evil."  I'm not sure why; it seems to be a matter of taste.  The Greek looks exactly the same either way.  But remember what Jesus said, "Don't babble like the heathens do."  The exact words don't matter.  Turning your heart toward God does. 

More About Biblical Prayer

The Purpose of Prayer
Conversations with God – Abraham
Conversations with God – Moses
Conversations with God – David and Solomon
Adoration: Sing to the Lord a New Song
Liturgical Prayer
When God Speaks
God promises to answer all prayers…
… Except the prayers of the Wicked. But if the Wicked repent, God hears them, too.
Sometimes the answer is “No.”
The disciples talk about prayer.
How Not to Pray
How to Pray: Effectively
How to Pray – Privately
How to Pray – Corporately

Copyright 2008, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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