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7. Prayer

7.1 What is prayer?
Prayer is simply talking to God, communicating with the true and living God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Prayer is God's gift to us. As our Heavenly Father, God loves to hear from us. He delights in our requests, thanksgiving and praise. He is eager to hear our sorrow and sadness. God cares about each of us and promises He will respond to us as we speak with Him.

In Philippians, the apostle Paul sums up God's invitation to pray and His gift of peace as we dialog with Him:

Prayer doesn't have to include fancy words or phrases. In fact, it is an exciting and heartfelt part of a healthy relationship with God.

7.2 Why should I pray?
Jesus both commands and invites us to pray:

With hope, faith and trust in God, we respond to His invitation to pray.

7.3 When should I pray?
Times that would seem natural for prayer include when we're in church, before meals, and at bedtime. But prayer isn't just for those venues. The Bible invites us to "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God wants us to be in an ongoing conversation with Him. Your prayers can be formal at times, but frequently they are simply a conversation-just like you might have with a friend. Sometimes you will pray out loud. At other times, you speak with God silently in your thoughts. God hears all your prayers and is glad when you take time to share your life with Him.

7.4 What should I say?
God invites you to communicate with Him just as you would communicate with a friend or family member who loves you and cares about you. You wouldn't only call that person when you want something from them. You call to thank them, to compliment them, to share your joys, your sorrows, and your life-and to share theirs. The same is true of our prayer life with God. + / -

7.5 What is the Lord's Prayer?
When Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He responded with what has been called, "The Lord's Prayer." It is a good pattern and guide for prayer. In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus taught His disciples to pray. The traditional translation of the Lord's Prayer is this:

Each phrase is packed with powerful prayer counsel:

Our Father who art in heaven: We approach God as a good and faithful Father who loves us and seeks for us to be in a relationship with Him. God is good. He promises to show His goodness in our lives.

Hallowed be Thy Name: God's Name is holy. We, as His servants, want to honor His holiness and show the holiness of His Name in all we say, think and do.

Thy kingdom come: In addition to eagerly wanting Jesus to come back and restore all things, we pray that God's work is active in our lives. We want Him to prevail with His blessing, His truth, and His mission. We also pray that our lives show what God's kind, gracious and righteous ways are all about to the world around us.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: God's will is for all people in the world to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. We humbly subject all our wants and desires to God's goals and desires for our lives and for the world.

Give us this day our daily bread: Jesus lets us know we can ask God to supply our daily needs. He cares about us to provide for us. No concern is too small for our faithful God.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: We depend on God for the forgiveness of our sins. We also ask that His forgiveness flow through us to others in our lives. We are asking that God's spirit of grace and compassion takes hold in our relationships.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: God doesn't tempt us, but He sometimes permits us to go through difficult times to teach us to rely on Him and not ourselves or others. Satan uses those same situations to tempt us to doubt our Father's love, and turn away from Him and His will for us. We pray that He keeps us from everything that would lead us away from His will. We also pray He would protect us and our loved ones from all evil and harm.

7.6 How does God answer prayer?
God answers every prayer of a believer. Sometimes He says, "Yes." Other times He says, "No, I have something better in mind." Still other times He says, "Wait for My answer; the time is not right yet." + / -

7.7 If God didn't say "yes" to my prayer, was it because I didn't pray enough?
Prayer is not a ritual or work that earns God's favor or causes your wishes to come true. Prayer is a gift of God, expressing an intimate relationship with Him and a steady trust in Him. God wants you to approach Him with humility and trust. If your prayer isn't answered the way you want it to be, you are called to trust your Heavenly Father who loves you and promises to care for you always. + / -

7.8 How do I listen to God?
In prayer we speak to God, but how does He give us His answer? Many people look to circumstances in their lives, but each event in our lives is a small piece of the puzzle. Often in the middle of a situation we can't know why God does what He does. It's all a matter of trusting the good and gracious will of our Heavenly Father.

In such times the only safe place to seek God's answer is in His Word, the Bible. + / -

7.9 What if I don't know what to say or am too upset to pray?
When you don't know what to say or can't even speak, the Bible promises the Holy Spirit prays for you with groans too deep for words.

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7.10 What attitude should I have in prayer?
It is important to come to God with humility and repentance-acknowledging your imperfection and failure, trusting in His mercy, and sacrificing your will for His. Prayer is not a tool to use so you can get your own way. It is yielding your complete self to the hands of your Savior who cares for you. Sometimes God humbles us and prepares us for approaching Him in prayer as this movie clip from Bruce Almighty illustrates.

God calls us to pray:

In faith:

Seeking His will:

In the Name of His Son, Jesus:

We often include these three features when we request something, and then we say, "If it is Your will. In Jesus' Name. Amen." The Hebrew word "Amen" is faith's strong confidence that God will answer our prayer as He has promised.

7.11 What help can I find for my prayer life?
Online apps and other prayer resources can be found here: