4 Principles of How to Properly Pray to God

1. Stand in the Place of a Created Being in Prayer

In Luke 18:9–14, it is recorded, “And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.” It’s easy to see from the Lord Jesus’ parable that the Lord approved of the publican’s prayer and detested the Pharisee’s prayer. That is because the latter was about showing off and making a display of himself and enumerating his deeds for God. He placed himself in a very high position, even at the same level as God. He bargained with God, took credit for God’s own work, and lacked even the slightest piety before Him. He completely lacked any fear in his heart for God, and this aroused God’s scorn and hatred. But the publican was entirely different. He knew that he was a lowly sinner, so in his prayer he had fear of God and laid himself bare, acknowledging his own corruption and sincerely pleading for God’s forgiveness, and in the end, he received God’s mercy. God had different attitudes toward each of them because of their different attitudes toward God. Compare this to our own prayers. We frequently take the wrong stance. For example: Sometimes when we encounter difficulties, we know what we do isn’t in line with the Lord’s words, but we are still determined to do it, and in our prayers we even want God to do things according to our own will. Or, when we accomplish something in our duties, such as not betraying the Lord when we’ve been arrested, we feel that we are someone who is very devoted to the Lord, who really loves Him, so when we pray, we ask for blessings or crowns, and if God doesn’t bless us, we bicker with Him. Or, when we fall ill or something terrible happens at home, in our prayers we blame God for not protecting us, and we even try to reason with God and settle accounts with Him. The list goes on and on. All of these prayers are placing demands on God and trying to force His hand. This is exploiting, blaming Him, and even standing against Him and opposing Him. These kinds of prayers are completely lacking in conscience and reason, and to pray like this is to resist God. If we as Christians want to have God hear our prayers, we should pray as the publican did, stand in the position of a created being, have an attitude of piety before Him, and pray to God with the precondition of being obedient. We shouldn’t try to force our own desires onto God or demand that He act according to our own will. We should only ask that God carries things out according to His own will. This is the only way God will hear our prayers, and enlighten and guide us.

2. Pray to God With Sincerity and Honesty

3. Pray to Do God’s Will

In Matthew 6:9–10, 13 the Lord Jesus said: “After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. … And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Ever since mankind was corrupted by Satan, God has been working to save humanity, allow us to escape from evil, allow us to escape from the bondage and harm of Satan, and ultimately to allow us to be gained by God. So, God hopes that people are able to come before Him and accept His salvation. He also hopes that people live according to His words and revere Him above all. This is why, in our prayers, we can’t just make appeals for ourselves. We must also be considerate of God’s will, pray for God’s will to be done on earth, pray for the appearance of Christ’s kingdom on earth, and pray for God’s gospel to spread to every corner of the world. This is another path of practice by which Christian prayer can be in accordance with God’s will. For example, when we encounter various difficulties, mockery, and hardships while spreading the gospel and we feel weak and negative, we should earnestly pray to God and ask Him to give us faith and strength, allow us to forsake the flesh and overcome all difficulties, and not be subject to the constraints of enemy forces. When working and preaching, we should pray to God with a burden, asking Him to enlighten and guide us to understand His words so that we can share His will in fellowship during gatherings. Then we can lead our brothers and sisters in the practice and experience of God’s words and bring them before God. When we see unscrupulous, evil things done in the church, we should pray to God and ask Him for faith and courage, as well as for understanding of the truth to see through Satan’s tricks and uphold the interests of God’s house. And so on. If we frequently pray for God’s kingdom to come and for His will to be done, and we are able to offer up our own bit of strength for the spread of His gospel, then God will approve of our prayers and they will be in line with His will. There are, in fact, some prayers in the Bible that gained God’s approval, such as when King David built a temple for Jehovah so that people could worship God within it. He often prayed to God for this, and then he put it into practice. Those entreaties gained God’s approval, and in the end David became someone in accordance with God’s will. After Solomon became king and God appeared to him in a dream, asking what he would ask for, Solomon didn’t ask for riches or a long life, but instead asked that God bestow wisdom upon him so that he could better rule God’s people, and then His people could better worship God. God approved of his prayers, and not only bestowed wisdom upon him, but also the riches and long life he hadn’t even asked for. It’s clear that praying to do God’s will is a prayer that is entirely in accord with His will.

4. Pray to the Lord With Stamina and Resolve — Do Not Lose Heart

  1. How to Pray Effectively So That God Answers Our Prayers?

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Wendy Sue

Wendy Sue

May all people cherish God’s word and come seeking to know God. May those preordained by God return into His presence.