Grow4: Talk to God (Learn to pray)

In our discover series, we talked about the desire for every person to develop a relationship with God the Father. How can you have a relationship with someone without communicating with them?

Prayer is one of the crucial pillars of our Christian life and our relationship with God. Sadly it is one of the most neglected and misunderstood by disciples.

Many people avoid prayer because they find it a drag. This unfortunate attitude has come about because new believers are not taught how to pray, or are given wrong ideas about how to pray. This is perpetuated in churches when well meaning or misinformed Christians alter their natural speech, trying to sound holy, instead of just talking to God.

A good first step is to pray in secret. Get by yourself, with only God to hear you. In Matthew chapter six, the apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray. He admonished them not to pray like the hypocrites, who pray for the ears of those around them, but pray in secret.

Second, Jesus gave them a framework for prayer. It is sad that many in Christendom treat the Lord’s prayer as if it were an incantation that they recite.

The meaning was so much deeper:
Our Father who art in heaven; in Hebrew the term they used for father was Abba .. A term of love and endearment similar to our term “daddy”. To the Pharisees, it was heretical to address God in this way. It is only because of the redeeming work of Jesus that we can have this intimate relationship with God. Tell Him that you love him.

Hallowed be thy name; show love, but also great respect for the creator and master of the universe.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; remember when you make a request of God, that it is His will and desires that you are seeking. God will not be bent to your will. Nevertheless he states in scripture “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Give us this day our daily bread; ask God to provide for you what you need. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Arenʼt you more valuable than they are?” – ” But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6). This doesn’t mean you can be lazy, but ask for provision as you seek to be more devoted to His kingdom.

Forgive our debts/transgressions/sins as we forgive others ; pray for His continued forgiveness, and pray that he gives you a spirit of forgiveness to others.

Lead us not into temptation; pray not just for forgiveness, pray that he helps you avoid the sin to begin with. This is part of becoming righteous and holy.

Use the Lord’s prayer as your framework. Don’t just recite it, use it as a guide to help you as you talk with the Father.

Finally: pray always. You don’t have to only be in your secret place. Where ever you find yourself, take small moments to talk to the father. The apostle Paul put it best in one of his letters: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.