How Should We Pray: a Lesson on Praying in Your own Words.
In the near future I will be making a distinction between personal prayers, private prayers using the prayers of the Church and Public prayers of the Church. For this lesson I am referring to personal prayers or prayer in our own words.
Pray with absolute confidence that God is on our side.
When we pray, the devil will bombard us and make us feel sinful and horrible about ourselves. We will never come to the place of being perfect enough on our own for God to hear our prayer. Rather, we are able to stand before God in humility, honesty, and transparency. With the understanding that we of our selves can do nothing pleasing to God. We must be a people who are willing to do what ever God asks of us, and do it by faith, through the graces he gives us to accomplish his will in our lives. Another way to put it is this. It is not something we do but what He does through us by his Grace and as we yield to his will.
It is only by Gods grace in our lives that we are children of God. As we come to Him and say “Father,” He truly is our Father. He is our confidence. He answers prayer not based on how great or mighty we are but how humble and honest and yielded to Him we are as children.
”For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 39).
This truth needs to be drilled into our hearts and minds if we are to have a confident, effective prayer life.
Pray with a thankful heart.
Be committed to thank Him for what He has done, for who He is and for what He will do. Praise Him. Give Him glory. Say, “Lord, let Your name be praised. "Hallowed be Thy name." (Matthew 6:9) "May Your name be lifted up.” When you come before the Lord, look back and see what He has already done for you and thank Him for all that. Look forward also to see what the Lord has promised to do and thank Him in advance for what He will do.
Pray remembering your relationships with others.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6: 12).
When you pray, make sure there is no bitterness, anger or unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone. This is very important. If you have these sort of feelings, ask the Lord to give you true forgiveness and love for the individual. Ask the Lord to help you love him as He loves him.
Be specific in your prayers.
Matthew 6: 11 says, “Give us this day ...” Ask Him for exactly what you need. What do you need today to sustain His work and accomplish His will? Don’t pray in general terms. Have specific things that you want God to answer. Tell Him the name and place. Let Him know who, what, where and so forth. Tell God specifically. Don’t tell Him how to answer, but be specific in what the needs are.
Pray with a burden.
Breakthrough in prayer comes through a heart that has been burdened by the Holy Spirit. Read II Esdras 1 (Douay Rheims). Nehemiah was so burdened that he could not even regulate his own expression and emotion because of the grief he had over the suffering of God’s people. Study the lives of Hannah, Moses, David and Paul. You will find this passion in their prayers as well. In Ephesians, you read about Paul praying for these people. It’s like he is in anguish. He talks about his “tribulations” for them (see Ephesians 3: 13). In Galatians he says, “My little children, of whom I am in labour again, until Christ be formed in you.” (Galatians 4: 19).
How do we get this burden? We simply seek it. We ask God to change our heart. We say, “Lord, what is on Your heart? What is Your concern? Lord, please let me understand it.” Then He brings the thoughts and gives us the burden to intercede. We cannot create this burden on our own. God does not care about lip service. He wants us to enter into the reality of what He feels for the suffering humanity all around us. He wants to share with us His burdens and His joy in seeing these prayers answered. Let that be our prayer also. “Let my heart break for the things that break God’s heart.”
Pray in faith.
We must believe we must have faith. Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, all things, whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive; and they shall come unto you.” (Mark 11: 24).
Jesus is not saying that what ever you want believe it will happen, using prayer like a magic wand. Just before Mark 11:24 Jesus says this. "Have the faith of God." vs 2. In other words praying in faith knowing that what you are praying about is what God wants. Your heart is his heart, your desires are his desires. that kind of unity in prayer comes from laying a side my will, and any sins that will get in the way of of your "oneness" with Him.
Matthew 17: 19– 20 says, “Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.  But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting."
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9: 22).
I don’t understand how it works, but God said as we pray we must keep believing that He has answered our prayer. The believing comes from Him. He is the author and finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12: 2). Faith is not something we can work up in ourselves. We can’t convince ourselves to believe. We have to ask Him for believing faith. The father of the afflicted son did that. He said to Jesus, “I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 24).
Pray in the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we don’t know how to pray when God lays a burden upon our hearts. But the Holy Spirit can pray through us. It can be in a language that nobody understands. I am not talking about an angelic tongue, but in groanings and cryings too deep for words. Please don’t try to figure this out. God is so wonderful that when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes through us. When our ability to pray comes to an end, God takes over.
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings." (Romans 8: 26).
Our God is eager to hear our prayers. Let us then come before Him in the morning, in the evening, while we are waiting in line, driving to work or washing the dishes. Prayer does not need to be an activity we engage in for only an hour each morning. Rather, let us live in the atmosphere of prayer, our hearts continually being lifted up in prayer to Him. In doing so, we will come to experience the wonder of answered prayers as we pray as one with God and the Holy Spirit and as we see Him work through our prayers.