Principles On How to Pray
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his Courts with praise: be thankful onto him, and bless his Name.
When I was around seven years old my grandmother had prayer groups at her home and she would invite the neighbors over. Mostly elderly women. She would say, “Norman I want you to pray.” Not knowing how to pray, she told me to thank God for whatever I wanted to thank Him for. So I thanked God for the beautiful trees, green grass, the blue sky, the food we eat, etc. That was my first lesson on prayer and it was an important one. Thanksgiving and praise, are two things God wants to hear from His people.
Prayer Principles Jesus laid out in Matthew 6
Source: Norman Grant
First, we should ensure we have the right motives when we come in the presence of God. Not with the intention of receiving attention or praise from men. But to approach God in truth and in secret. God, who is unseen and who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Jesus makes it clear that if we come to the Father in prayer expecting praise from men our reward will come from men and NOT from God.
Secondly we should pray to the Father from our heart. Not like the pagans pray with many words. God already knows our hearts so pray in truth. Thirdly we must forgive others for their sins against us. If we fail at this our prayers are useless. God warns us to leave the altar and forgive our transgressions before returning to the altar.
Jesus gave examples of the manner and the pattern we are to pray in. Prayer principles if you like. I will add an example of how I might pray in the same pattern.
(Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be thy name). Father you are holy and awesome and I will praise your wonderful name.
(Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven). Father use me to do great things for your kingdom. I pray your will be done in my life to give you glory.
(Give us today our daily bread). Thank you Father for your word today. It fills my heart and gives me courage and peace.
(Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors). Father forgive me for the thoughts I had against my neighbor, search my heart and reveal to me anyone I have offended.
(Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from the evil one). Lord cover us with your mighty hand of protection and shield us from the flaming arrows of the Devil.