How to Better Petition God

Following are Cliff Notes on Prayer 101.

Jesus said “When you pray…” That means do it, pray. Then He gave a model for prayer. It is not necessary that those exact words be prayed, but they serve as a model. It is also good to often pray the actual words on occasion. I pray them six or more times a day.

When you pray He said to pray, “Our Father….” We do not pray to God the Holy Spirit nor to God Jesus Christ, but to God the Father. There are all sorts of times, places, and forms of prayer. There should at least be a couple of times a day we engage in focused prayer. 

No person knows what God looks like. Not having seen Him we can at best compare Him to something in our world of experience, a person. Envision yourself in the actual presence of God. He is spoken of in I Timothy 6:16 as God “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.”

Take time to do what the Quakers call “centering down.” I hear some people say “let’s just have a little prayer,” and they jump in with no focus. In centering down consider bringing into focus a brilliant glow that symbolizes His presence. 

The most important thing I can tell you regarding prayer is concentration on the One to whom you are praying, not the thing about which you are praying. Envision yourself as being humbly in His presence respectfully talking to Him.

Jesus’ Model Prayer included these elements worthy of your inclusion.

PRAISE: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
PETITION: “Give us this day our daily bread.” 
PARDON: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
PROTECTION: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
PROFESSION: “For yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

He answers every prayer. One response might very well be, “Wait, which one of us is God.” You are after all petitioning Him, that is asking Him, not mandating Him.

Having a sense of humor He might answer some prayers, “You have got to be kidding.”

One response might be, “Wait a while.” Give God time to be God. Often the wait draws us closer to Him than the answer.

The saddest of all responses must be, “I thought you would never ask.”

At times we think God has not answered our prayers, forgetting “No” is an answer. Some of His best answers to some of my prayers has been no. When He says no I say thank you that in your love and wisdom you knew that was not best for me, so thank You for Your no.

Prayer can be offered in many different ways under various circumstances. The important thing is to pray. Pause now and commit yourself to Him as one resolute on purposefully praying to Him using these guidelines.