Teach us to pray Part 2
To whom do we pray? Do we kneel to pray?
In Part 1 we saw that prayer is a communication to/with God. Many believe their prayers are answered and evidence of this is primarily reported in the Old and New Testaments and subsequently miracles and graces have been reported by the Church and beyond. Prayer can change things; your prayer can change things.
We saw that we need to be persistent in prayer and saw examples of this including the domino effect, Queen Bertha of Kent, and the hacking cough.
Who said this ‘The family that prays together stays together (answer Mother Theresa)?
Today we consider some practical aspects of prayer such as to whom do we address our prayers and what position should our bodies be in when we pray?
To whom do we pray?
We come to the Father in Jesus’ name
John 14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
In my name is a legal phrase like a lawyer speaking on someone’s behalf. So, it must reflect Jesus’ character, personality, opinions, and beliefs. In other words, we cannot ask anything in Jesus name that he would not ask for.
So, prayer in the New Testament is usually addressed to the Father (Our Father which art in heaven) following Jesus’ example. Also, Paul prayed to the Father e.g. in Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father…
Sometimes however is acceptable to pray to Jesus e.g. Stephen the martyr
Acts 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Some people claim he prayed to Jesus because he could see him.
However, it seems likely that Paul was addressing Jesus in the following scripture
2 Corinthians 12:8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Jesus addresses the Father in John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him.
What about the Holy Spirit? Jesus prayed to the Father not the Holy Spirit.
Is there a correct posture or position for praying? No. However I do love this quotation; “The hinge of history is a bended knee” @PeteGreig#presencia #madrid14 The Bible does not command people to assume any particular position in talking with God. On the contrary there are various positions people assume when talking to God. In Scripture we find people praying in various ways: Here is a selection:
1. Kneeling, the martyr Stephen knelt as he prayed. Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice. Lord do not charge them with this sin (Acts 7:60). When Simon Peter brought a woman back from the dead he knelt in prayer. But Peter put them all out and knelt down and prayed (Acts 9:40). Kneeling is a popular approach.
2.Standing, the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself (Luke 18:11).
3.Eyes Open, In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed with his eyes open.
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said (John 17:1).
4. Fall On Face, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus fell upon His face when He prayed. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying (Matthew 26:39).
Hence, we see prayer to God is not so much the position of the body but the right attitude of the heart. The Bible says:
But the LORD said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)
Make your own Closing Prayer