Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Learn All About Prayer From Jesus

on February 8, 2012

Now that we have covered the high level of what prayer is, who can pray, and why, when and where we should pray, one major question remains. How do we pray? It seems like such a simple thing—just talk to God—and yet I feel no shame in asking this question as it is the very question that the disciples of Jesus asked of him.

From Microsoft OfficeIn the book of Mathew, when the disciples ask of Jesus how to pray, Jesus gives them the prayer of Our Father. The disciples were faithful Jews. They were taught at a young age how to pray, with formal and memorized prayers, in synagogues and the temple, and by the priests. Yet something they saw in the way Jesus prayed prompted them to ask him to teach them.

From the teachings of Jesus, we learn that a number of components that make up prayer; acknowledgment of who God is, disposing the heart to do the will of the Father, filial boldness, a conversion of heart, watchfulness and faith (CC 2607-2615).

Acknowledgment of God

God created the heavens and the earth, the land and the water, the plants and the animals, and man and woman. Just as the Our Father prayer begins with “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”, our prayers should start with great respect for who God is and what God has done. It is not that God is arrogant and self-conceited—this acknowledgement is for our own benefit. For when we speak of who God is and what he has done, we are reminding ourselves that he is the almighty, capable of the impossible, and he keeps his promises always. No matter what position we find ourselves in and no matter how hopeless the situation, God created all and is mighty to help us in all of our needs.

The Will of the Father

From Microsoft OfficeMary, the Saints and especially Jesus are great role models in making the will of the Father their own will. We should all echo Mary when she told the angel “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38) And like Jesus in the garden, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Lk 22:42) In this way, we recognize that God’s plans and will are the ultimate answer and have priority over all else, because his plans are of good and not of woe.

Filial Boldness and Faith defines Filial as “of, pertaining to, or befitting a son or daughter: noting or having relation of a child to a parent”. When we approach God, proclaiming him to be our Father, acknowledging his greatness, his will and daring to ask of our needs, we are recognizing ourselves as his children. Additionally, Jesus directs us to thank God for his gifts before we have even received them and to have faith that if we ask, we shall receive, for God is an excellent Father who cares and loves us.

Conversion of Heart and Watchfulness

Jesus tells us that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”, thus we should pray for our hearts to change and the strength to not surrender to temptation. We see this in the Old Testament. Repeatedly, the Israelites did not repent of their evil deeds, nor sought help from God so that they would not fall from him again. Every time they did this, the consequences of their actions became more terrible, until they were even exiled from God’s land. Let us always approach God with recognition of our sinfulness, the attentiveness to avoid sin and a request for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us.

It should be realized that God does not need us to pray. He is an all-knowing, ever-present, loving God. Prayer is for us, for our benefit. Keeping this in mind and that prayer is not a way to control God but to unite us with the Trinity, we are equipped with the knowledge that we need in order to succeed in the battle of prayer.

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5 responses to “Learn All About Prayer From Jesus

  1. […] Learn All About Prayer From Jesus ( […]

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  4. […] beauty in what I was saying. I did not realize that the ‘Our Father’ was the way that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Now, the ‘Our Father’ springs to my lips easily, while I’m working and I […]

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