How Do I Pray and to Whom?
By Dennis Huebshman
For someone who has never “Talked” to the Father – Prayer – it may seem like a strange concept. After all, how can anyone carry on a conversation with someone that isn’t visible and doesn’t give specific verbal responses? Prayer is not a new thing as the first recorded activity of calling on the name of the Lord is found in Genesis 4:26.
Most people have heard of the “Lord’s Prayer”, however this really should be named the “Disciples Prayer”. In Luke 11:1, Jesus was in prayer to the Father when one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray as John taught his disciples. (In Matthew 6:9, this is part of the Beatitudes.) Jesus gave them an “outline” of the proper order that we should follow when we talk to the Father.
Starting with Luke 11:2 – “Our Father Who Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Before getting to our wants and needs, we should always give the Father our total respect, glory, honor and praise. “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven.” Here we acknowledge God as our Creator that is all powerful and we are in submission to His will.
Luke 11:3 – “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” We are asking Him to supply our necessities. Jesus told us the Father already knows what we need, but as with a child and their parents, He likes for us to ask anyway. (paraphrased)
Luke 11:4 – “And Forgive Our Sins For We Also Forgive Those Who Have Sinned Against Us.” Jesus taught many times, that if we wish to be forgiven, we must be willing to forgive others as well. He led with the greatest example of all when He asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. Stephen followed this example when he was being stoned by asking that the charge not be held against them.
Just a note before continuing; recently I saw a video of an elderly lady that, along with her twin sister, had experiments done on them at Auschwitz by Joseph Mengele – known as the Angel of Death. After a lot of years and many medical problems, she realized she could not continue to carry the hate in her heart. Even though she was no where near Mengele, she went into a room and after saying out loud all the things he had done, she forgave him. She stated that afterwards, there was now a light in her that had only held darkness before. Corrie Tenboom actually forgave one of her prison guards face to face after a lecture she had given on forgiveness. She stated she had to ask the Father to give her the strength and ability to do so, but afterward felt a release of emotion that had been locked inside her.
Luke 11:4b – “…And Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil.” James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself tempts no one.” He goes on to say we are tempted by our desires. We need to ask for wisdom, strength and will-power to resist our evil desires. James 1:6 says we need to ask “in faith” without doubting and James 4:2-3 says if we ask with wrong motives our prayers won’t be answered.
In later versions of this “prayer outline” the words were added; “For Thine Is The Kingdom, The Power And The Glory Forever And Ever, Amen.” This is very proper so as to end with praise just as praise was given at the start.
Jesus prayed often to the Father and just about every range of emotion is shown in the Gospels. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He displayed anguish about what He was facing. Thing is, He still said, “Thy Will, Not Mine.” The Father responded by sending an Angel to strengthen Him. (Luke 22:43)
In John 17, we see a very intimate prayer from Jesus to the Father asking that He be glorified through Him. He also prays especially for His disciples asking that they be given whatever is necessary for them to carry on after He leaves. He then prays or believers everywhere and for all time which even reaches out and touches you and I.
Final point, I have heard some say we are not to pray to Jesus, but only to the Father “in Jesus’ name”. Ok then, they need to explain John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever you ask in My name so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If you ASK ME anything, in My name, I will do it.” Now, before the “prosperity people” jump all over this saying it proves Jesus has to give us everything we ask for, remember James 4:2-3 which says we ask and don’t receive because of wrong motives. John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey My commandments.” Those in His will know to ask for needs and in a proper way. We can ask for “greeds”, but without the expectation that they will be granted.
While Jesus was on earth as fully human yet fully God, He was made lower than the Angels for a short while (Hebrews 2:7). Yet John 10:30 plainly states, “The Father and I are One!” Through Jesus’ own example, we should pray to the Father, but remember Jesus is 1/3 of the God-head which also includes the Holy Spirit. There is nothing wrong with talking to Jesus and thanking Him for all He has done for us, and what He is about to do by calling His Church (believers) Home.
Remember, to be saved and have a place prepared for us (John 14:2), we need to call out to the Lord asking Him to forgive our sins and to please be our Savior. This is a personal request we make of Jesus, and it’s proper to ask Him directly for this. He will accept ALL who sincerely call on Him and the Holy Spirit will come and dwell in us while we are on this earth. (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13; Romans 10:9)
As I stated at the beginning of this message, talking to the Father, Son and/or Holy Spirit will seem strange at first. As with any good habit, and you can’t have one much better than this, it will become a real part of your life. You can speak verbally or just in your mind anywhere and tell him anything at any time. As the relationship grows, you will feel closer and closer to the Savior and will be longing for His soon arrival. For this, a Crown of Righteousness will be prepared for you. (2 Timothy 4:8) The main thing is to get the relationship started. If you’ve never talked to Him before, start now. Just say, “Hi Lord; it’s me (your name). I need to talk to you.” From there, just tell Him what is on your mind and in your heart. This is not a test, and you won’t be graded on it – but you will open a path for Him to connect with you personally. Most important of all, ask Him to forgive your sins and to please give you the Free Gift He provided at Calvary. There are no hidden catches or meanings as He died for our sins that we could never reconcile ourselves with the Father, and is willing that ALL who call on Him be able to spend eternity with Him. He is listening 24/7 and is waiting for your call.
Maranatha – Shalom!