Brethren, “Is there a right or wrong way to pray?”. Do you ever wonder if you’re praying the right way? Are you using the right words, the right motions, the right methods? Are your attempts at prayer good enough for God to listen? So many prayer guides and instructions on how to pray are offered by our churches, but which one is “right”?
They leave us with many questions than answers like: Do I close my eyes or open them? Do I kneel and bow my head or look up at God? Should I be praying the written prayers of the prayer book or making up my own? Should I include arts or movement in my prayer?
What do I need to say in my prayers? Do I need to use the big “KJV thy” words or are my own word are enough? Aren’t there some rules I’m supposed to follow? Where do I start?
What about you? Do you ever wonder if you’re getting it “right”?
Wonder if you’re praying the “right” way? I wouldn’t say there is a right or wrong prayer or way to pray. The reason being that prayer is not just about the content–what you are asking about, but also about the approach – the way you pray, the things you don’t even say during your time of prayer, yet they are closely connected with your prayers and can affect your prayers.
Prayer is not a religious routine or having something crossed off from our to-do list, It’s for a close relationship with God (Psalm 42:1-2). We want God to hear and answer us when praying (Psalm 65:2)and also bring glory to Him(John 14:14) Any prayer that won’t strengthen and build our relationship with God, God won’t listen to, and any prayer that won’t bring glory to God is a wrong type of prayer or should I say a wrong way to pray.
Psalm 103:7 tells us that the Israelites were just seeking after God’s acts; seeking God’s blessings. They had no real desire or interest in knowing God’s ways, in having a close relationship with Him. Moses, on the other hand, discovered not just God’s acts but also His ways. If all the time I come to God in prayer, all I do is ask Him to give me things, all I want is a new car, good job, get married, have children, have more and more money, then I am using God, and it is wrong to use people.
It is wrong to be just a seeker of the acts of God; it is wrong not to be interested in hearing God out; hearing what He has to say about every area of my life, habits I keep that are bad, or decisions I take that can land me in trouble. It is wrong to not care about what God likes, what He dislikes, or about what He needs at every point in time, yet I want Him to fulfil my own needs.
It is wrong to not discuss my life with God, to tell secrets and details of my life to people who don’t have any lasting solution to what I am going through, yet I expect God who I haven’t made an insider to the nitty-gritty details of my life, to be just dishing out blessings to me.
It is wrong if all I want from God is for Him to give me things but I’m not ready to give Him anything; I don’t give Him my life in worship and surrender, I don’t give Him my time, gifts, skills and resources. This is what I will say is a wrong way to pray; prayer that is one-sided, a prayer where you are just on the receiving side, never on the giving side. Yes, God wants to give us things. He tells us to ask and it will be given to you (Matthew 7:7), but prayer is more than just asking and asking for things; things that will one day fade away.
What was the first thing Jesus said when he taught us how to pray? He said “Our Father’’ (Matthew 6:9). So before the give me my daily bread and all those things we come to God asking for, there must be a relationship between Father and child established. Paul also reminds us this is Galatians 4:6 … “Abba Father”.
Where, the Holy Spirit helps us to develop an intimate relationship with God not based on just obtaining material, a temporal blessing from God but helps us to remain standing in the place of prayer even in the face of extreme adversity. Yes, you can ask God to meet your needs, but that can’t be all you do whenever you pray. There must be a place in your prayer for God’s own needs “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth” (Matthew 6:10).
In Psalm 65:2 says “O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.” We come to God because we believe we are coming to a Living God who hears prayers, we are not just talking in the air to a lifeless God that can’t hear His people no matter how long and loud they shout (1 Kings 18:26-27).
Therefore, any prayer that God does not hear and listen to is wrong(1 John 5:14). It’s a give in that if what I’m praying about is in line with the will of God, He will surely hear that prayer. Apart from this, even when what I am praying about is in line with the will of God but my motive for wanting that thing is wrong, I want to hurt others or show off, God won’t listen to the prayer.
Psalm 66:18, the Bible says “If I cherish iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”To have done things that are offensive to God, then treat them like it’s nothing, act like we haven’t done anything wrong, and just be asking God for things. God won’t listen to that kind of prayer. The prayer He will listen to is not the prayer of a perfect person who never sins, but of a person who falls into sins, acknowledges his sin, is sorry for the sin and asks God to forgive and wipe away his sin so nothing stands between him and his prayer to God.
Just imagine some armed robbers praying to God that their operation will be successful. This is the wrong way to pray, to pray about things that will not glorify the name of the Lord. (Psalm 115:1).We must never ascribe the glory due to God to ourselves; to our prayer capability and proficiency (Isaiah 42:8), if we want to see more of His glory, more of His power, more of His loving-kindness as we pray if we want to pray aright.