You don't need to learn pious-sounding words and phrases to pray. Simple words that come from your heart will reach God. God looks on your heart. So it is good to prepare your heart to pray. God has told us how to do that.
FIRST, WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN (JOHN'S GOSPEL, CHAPTER 3).
If you want to talk to God expecting the special help and favor that our Father in heaven gives His children you must be born again. You may be religious and even belong to a church. You may live a good decent moral life. But you still must be born again.
Long ago Jesus told a religious leader named Nicodemus, "Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (The Gospel of John chapter 3, verse 3). Your first birth gave you life in this world. The second birth gives you everlasting life. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (chapter 3, verse 16).
You have already been born of the flesh, but now you must be born of the Spirit. Jesus explained "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (chapter 3, verse 6). Our first birth did not equip us to commune with God who is spirit. So the new birth is necessary that we might share the special privileges and favor which the Almighty Father has given to those who have been born into His family in the Spirit realm.
What must you do to be born of the spirit? You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (John chapter 3, verse 16). In other words, you must stop depending on anything you have done to earn the right to be in God's new family and go to heaven when you die. Instead, you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That means you depend only on what Christ did for you when He died for your sins and rose from the dead.
Another way to explain it is that you open your life to Jesus and receive Him. Many people did not receive Him when He came into the world, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John chapter 1, verse 12-13).
You can be born again now. You could pray a prayer like this, "Heavenly Father, I know I have sinned against you. I see that I need to be born of the Spirit so I can enter the kingdom of God and receive everlasting life. I do now receive the Lord Jesus according to His Word, the Bible.
(If you would like to know more about the new birth, CONTACT US with your name and address. We will send you a Bible study and other information that would help you gain full assurance that have been born again and are ready to enjoy all the privileges and special blessings God has given to His children. You can be sure that your prayers will reach God's ears.)
If you would like to read the story of someone who received Christ CLICK HERE
SECOND, WE MUST HUMBLE OURSELVES.
God's children can become proud and independent. To reach God in prayer we must humble ourselves. The Lord says, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
We begin to humble ourselves by taking our place as helpless little children in the presence of the Almighty Father. We are creatures made from the dust of the ground. We are helplessly dependent on God for life, breath and all things. Jesus said, "I and the vine, you are the branches
There's more. We are not only helpless creatures, but we are also sinful creatures. We must regard ourselves as unworthy of God's least favor. Jesus emphasized this truth when He told the story of two men who went to the temple to pray.
One was a Pharisee and the other a sinful tax-collector. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men -- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax-collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:10-14).
When we humble oursevles we accept our place under the authority of Christ and that is what Jesus meant when He taught His disciples to pray in His name (John 14:13-15).
THIRD, WE MUST APPROACH GOD IN PRAYER BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19). His blood, not our good deeds, has obtained our right to enter the throne room of heaven with the confidence that God will listen to our prayers. We don't have to refer to the blood of Jesus every time we pray, but we must realize that it is His blood that gives us access to God, the Father. This truth encourages us to pray with confidence. Thoughts of our unworthiness may crowd into our mind and make us doubt that we can reach God with our prayers. Don't let this stop you. Remember we all have to come to the Father by the blood of Jesus.
FOURTH, WE MUST DRAW NEAR TO GOD IN PRAYER WITH A TRUE HEART (HEBREWS 10:22).
What is a true heart? It is a heart that is completely devoted to God. Psalm 119:10 is an example. "With my whole heart I have sought You. Oh, let me not wander from your commandments!" The opposite of a true heart is one that is guilty of harboring divided affections. Just as it is a violation of marriage to harbor affections for another partner, so it is adultery against God to pray while harboring friendship with the world (James 4:1-10). Giving the world some of the love which belongs exclusively to Him is deadly to our prayer life. We must deal with this and other sins with honest confession accompanied by forsaking our wicked ways. God will enable us to do this by His grace and power.
FIFTH, WE MUST KEEP IN MIND THAT THE MAIN THING IN PRAYER IS TO SEEK GOD'S FACE.
That means we seek through prayer to keep an open, honest relationship of true love with God. Pray about your love for God and your church family (Ephesians 3:14-21).
SIXTH, WE MUST LEARN TO WORRY ABOUT NOTHING AND PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING (PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7).
We must pray with confidence that our God will supply all our needs, but not all our wants (Philippians 4:19).
SEVENTH, WE MUST BE PATIENT WHILE WE WAIT FOR ANSWERS TO OUR PRAYERS.
"For you have need of endurance (patience), so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise" (Hebrews 10:36).
These are not all of the ABC's of prayer. More will be added later.