Day 8: Is there a proper way to pray?

Bible Verses:  Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 18:9-14; 2 Chronicles 7:14-15

I love what Richard Foster says: “In the same way that a small child cannot draw a bad picture, so a child of God cannot offer a bad prayer.”

Perhaps that offers a simple answer to this question.

Still, what are we talking about here? The posture of prayer? If that is where the question comes from, there are all kinds of possibilities. The Bible talks about praying when we are walking and moving. It speaks of standing, sitting, kneeling, and lying prostrate on the ground.

Or are we talking about the actual “words” of our prayers? Do we have to have “good manners” when we pray and be sure that we use all the right words and say them correctly?

My hunch is that while posture and the words we choose are significant, we are really talking about something much more vital here. What’s implied in this question is the ATTITUDE of the person praying, and on that, we can do no better than to look at a couple of times when this topic came up with Jesus.

First, Jesus says this in Matthew 6:5-8. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the streets to be seen by men…and when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

Second, Jesus tells a similar-sounding story in Luke 18:9-14. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The proper way to pray is with a humble attitude. God cares more about the thoughts in our hearts than the words on our lips. He’d rather have your big worries than your big words, your expression of need, than your eloquence of language. So what are you waiting for? Talk to Him now!

Day 8 Challenge: Commit to memory 2 Chronicles 7:14-15. Start by writing it down 5 times.

Prayer Prompt: For national and international missions, organizations, individuals, and groups seeking to make a difference in the world