“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” - Martin Luther
In just about every hospital room in America, there is a monitor above the bed that displays the patient’s vital signs. The vital signs monitored are usually heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure to name a few. These signs provide the doctors with an idea of how the patient is doing in the most critical areas such as breathing and items related to the heart.
In our spiritual lives, we need to keep an eye on some of the vital areas of our lives that indicate what our Christian walk really looks like. One of those vital areas is that of our prayer life. Are we spending time with God in prayer building that relationship? Do we really know how to pray so that we can have an effective prayer life? We cannot grow our prayer life unless we really know how to approach God in prayer. I believe the best way to learn how to pray is to follow the model of Jesus. How did Jesus pray?
He prayed before making major decisions - It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12 (Prior to choosing the twelve disciples)
He prayed after great victories - After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23 (After the feeding of the 5,000.)
He prayed with the right motive - Now, Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:5
He prayed to overcome temptation - And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation." Luke 22:39-41
He prayed scripture - Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17
He prayed for intimacy with God. - This is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3
He prayed during a crisis - When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" Mark 15:33-34
He prayed to impact the world - I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. John 17:15
I pray that the model of Jesus will help you as you pray but I also want to leave you with another simple formula for prayer and it is called the ACTS model. ACTS stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
Begin your prayers with praise for God, followed by any sins you need to confess, then express your thanks for all He has done for you, and finally make known your requests to God in the manner that Jesus did above. May each of us begin to experience the true power of prayer!