How should we pray?

A recent question was asked on doyoureallybelieve.com:  “A pastor I really admire indicates that for prayer to be effective one must pray in the prayer, tongues, lords prayer, acceptspirit, or in tongues. I thought speaking in tongues is a gift of the spirit given to those as he wills. So, does the fact that I have never prayed in tongues mean my prayers are ineffective?”

I believe that your prayers can be and are effective if you do not pray in tongues.  I have so many thoughts about this question that I could write about this for days.

First, I agree with you in that tongues are a spiritual gift based on 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.  Also, in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 “tongues” appears in the list of gifts.  The meaning of “Speaking in Tongues” is a topic that I am not going to focus on at this time.  I believe the real question is how should you pray so that your prayers are effective?

Based on the topic of prayer I think it is very simple.  Jesus told us how to pray and the following is what He said:

Jesus defines prayer as follows:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:5-15 (NIV)

Do you pray alone or in front of people?  Do you babble to God or do you talk to Him like you are His friend?  Are you real with God?  Do you seek for His Kingdom to come?  Do you ask for what you need or for what you want?  Do you forgive?  Do you ask God to lead you away from temptation and deliver you away from bad things?

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