Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Pray

Prayer is communication with God. We are to "pray to God" (1Co 11:13, 2Co 13:7). Jesus instructed "'pray to your Father who is in secret'" (Mt 6:6). In a sense it is talking because Jesus said, "'When you pray, say'" (Lk 11:2). Daniel was "speaking in prayer" (Da 9:21). However, Jesus warned, "'you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray on the street corners'" (Mt 6:5). He instructed rather to "'go into your inner room, [and] close your door and pray to your Father . . . who sees what is done in secret'" (:6). How can you be sure the message has been received? We know that "if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us . . . [and] we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him" (1Jo 5:14-15). Even Jesus stated, "'I knew that You always hear Me'" (Jn 11:42). Daniel expected the communication to succeed. He prayed, "'Our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and . . . let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary'" (Da 9:17). Solomon expressed, "'O my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place'" (2Ch 6:40). "The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears attend to their prayer" (1Pe 3:12).

Prayer

How and when do you pray? "Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness to pray" (Lk 5:16). "He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives" (22:39). "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there" (Mk 1:35). "After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone" (Mt 14:23). "It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God" (Lk 6:12). However, it didn't require Jesus to be in isolation to pray. "Praying alone, the disciples were with him" (Lk 9:18). But for a little privacy he said, "'Sit here while I go over there and pray'" (Mt 26:36).

Prayer originated in the Old Testament. Worship occurred during the Feasts of the Lord such as when "the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering" (Lk 1:10). Daniel was devoted to prayer and "continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God" (Da 6:10). Even Cornelius, a Roman soldier, explained, "'I was praying in my house during the ninth hour . . . [and he was told] your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God'" (Ac 10:30-31). Paul said "I want men in every place to pray" (1Ti 2:8). Methods vary. Jesus "knelt down and began to pray . . . [and then] rose from prayer" (Lk 22:41,45). He referred to when you "'stand praying'" (Mk 11:25). It is a matter of relationship and respect. Jesus taught them to pray, "'Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name'" (Mt 6:9). "Jesus spoke these things; and [lifted] up His eyes to heaven" (Jn 17:1).

Prayerful

Prayer is serious as when someone is ill. "The prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up" (Ja 5:15). Times are tough because "the end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer" (1Pe 4:7). You are to take it seriously and "devote yourselves to prayer" (Ro 12:12, 1Co 7:5, Col 4:2). To be devoted is to be focused and attentive by "keeping alert in it" (Col 4:2) and "on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints" (Eph 6:8). Paul urges that prayers "be made on behalf of all men" (1Ti 2:1) and wants "men in every place to pray" (2:8). He directs to pray "in everything" (Php 4:6) "at all times" (Eph 6:18) "without ceasing" (1Th 5:17). Jesus taught "that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart" (Lk 18:1). Paul said he was "always offering prayer with joy in my prayer for you all" (Php 1:4). "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (Ja 5:16).

Praying

"One of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples'" (Lk 11:1). Paul said "we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will" (Col 1:9). Prayer and asking are associated. You can't ask without prayng, but you can pray without necessarily asking for anything. However, asking is commonly associated with prayer because "we know we have the requests which we have asked from Him" (Jn 11:42). "'In all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive'" (Mt 21:22). Jesus said, "'All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you'" (Mk 11:24). "'In that day you will not question Me about anything . . . [for] if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you'" (Jn 16:23).

There are certain characteristics of prayer. "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit" (Eph 6:18) A petition is composed of requests. "Be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints" (:18). Paul also instructed "that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men" (1Ti 2:1). He said "be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Php 4:6). Daniel said "I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications" (Da 9:3). He had been "praying and giving thanks before his God" (6:10). Soloman emphasized the value of prayer when he interceded for Israel. He said God would deliver them if they "'repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity'" (2Ch 6:37) and "'pray to their land which You have given to their fathers'" (:38). Of course, preventive maintenance is also important. Jesus said, "'Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone'" (Mk 11:25). He also said, "'Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation'" (Lk 22:46).

Entreat

What is our so-called "world view?" Jesus told the Jews, "'You are of this world'" (Jn 8:23). There are the facts of life. Paul says "if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either: (1Th 3:10). It is a matter of survival. However, Jesus told his disciples "'you are not of the world . . . [because] I chose you out of the world'" (Jn 15:19). Which side then are you on? Is it just survival of the fittest, or is there another way? It is a matter of perspective. "Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1Co 15:31). "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col 2:3). But you still have to exist. However, "'your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things'" (Mt 6:32). The most common translation of the word "prayer" in the Bible is to make requests of God. Jesus taught regarding prayer to ask, "'Give us this day our daily bread'" (Mt 6:11). Paul refers to God's promise to provide for our needs by saying "my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Php 4:19). "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above" (Ja 1:17). So "'seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you'" (:33). Paul instructed "be anxious for nothing, but . . . let your requests be made known to God" (Php 4:6). Jesus said, "'Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself'" (Mt 6:33). He said, "'If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it'" (Jn 14:14) because "'everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds'" (Lk 11:10). The promise is for believers who "trust in the Lord . . . and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps 37:3-4).

Intercede

Jesus asked them to keep watch while he prayed, but when he returned, he found them asleep (Mt 26:38,45). He warned them to "'keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation'" (:41). Prayer has its part in survival. He told them to pray so they would "'have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place'" (Lk 21:36). You need God's protection both physically and spiritually. It is a spiritual endeavor. Paul said "pray at all times in the Spirit" (Eph 6:18). But Jesus pointed out that "'the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak'" (Mt 26:41). That is why you must be consistent and "devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving" (Col 4:2). "'Keep on the alert at all times'" (Lk 21:36). "Be on the alert with all perseverance and petition" (Eph 6:18). Paul followed the advice saying "unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers" (Ro 1:9-10). He engaged in intercessary prayer on the behalf of others "with all perseverance and petition for all the saints" (Eph 6:18). Peter pointed out to "be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer" (1Pe 4:7). Jesus' parable showed a judge bringing justice to a widow who petitioned him continually for action (Lk 18:1-8). Jesus also taught to pray to "'not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil'" (Mt 6:13). For when you "encounter various trials" (Ja 1:2) you will have prayed "to escape" (Lk 21:36) so "with the temptation [God] will provide the way of escape also, so that you may be able to endure it" (1Co 10:13).