How to Develop a Personal Prayer Life
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He began with principles found in Matthew 6:5-15.
As we begin, remember that we do not pray to gain the attention of others.
- When you pray, focus on your heavenly Father – talk to Him. We cannot see Him, but He sees and hears us.
- Don’t try to impress God with words and meaningless repetition. When we come into God’s presence, we must approach Him with genuineness and sincerity.
Jesus then gave His disciples a model of prayer that we call The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). From this model we are going to learn exciting insights that will teach us to pray.
The Lord’s Prayer as Our Model
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
1. When we pray, we are approaching a good and loving heavenly Father. God is holy, but He is tender and He is near. Prayer is intimacy with God, but we cannot be personal and intimate until we understand how good our Father really is, and how much He wants to fellowship with us. Psalm 107:1 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.”
Begin your prayer with thanks and praise.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
2. Pray for others, that Christ will rule in their hearts, and that He will soon return. Our first priority is to pray for others. This is called intercession. God loves the world so intensely that it is His will that people everywhere, on our campuses and around the world, would come to Him. He is building His kingdom on earth in the hearts of men and women.
After we pray for others, we must also pray that God will strengthen His rule in our own hearts.
Give us today our daily bread.
3. Pray, believing that God will meet all your needs. God is so good to us, He delights in meeting those needs that will enable us to live and serve in His will.
He cares about the intimate details in the lives of His children.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
4. Confess your sins in response to God’s holiness and grace. Confession is agreeing with God that we have failed Him; we have not lived up to His holy standard. Confession is also accepting God’s grace – His continual forgiveness because of Christ’s sacrifice. Then we are to forgive others. Forgiveness is the overflow of a life that has been forgiven.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
5. Pray for God’s protection and power. We are in a war! We are battling for the lives of fellow students, moms and dads, brothers and sisters. We must have God’s protection and power over the enemy.
Our prayers are a response to God’s power. We are tapping into His protection and His victory over the enemy.
The enemy must flee when a young disciple seeks God in prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.
6. Prayer is worshipping God because of His power and protection. Jesus teaches us to begin our prayer with thanksgiving for our Father’s goodness, and then to conclude by worshipping Him for His protection and power.
Prayer is intimacy that impacts the world!
Concepts in this section were inspired by the book The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippit (Moody Press).