I have been asked twice this week, "Who taught you to pray?" The examples of prayer that I had my life were of course my parents and my grandmother. But I must say that the associate pastor at my church, Delmus Anthony, has taught me the most about how to really pray. He had a great lesson for us on Wednesday night on the subject and I thought I would share.
We should look to Jesus to teach us how to pray(Luke 11:1). He prayed first thing in the morning, alone, and even all night(Luke 6:12). We should pray earnestly(Luke 22:44). We should pray committed to do God's will not ours(Matt 26:39). Pray and not faint (Luke 18:21). Pray for laborers (Matt 9:38). We should pray in Jesus' name(John 14:13-14). We should keep 'knocking'(Luke 18:1), be persistent in our prayers. And very importantly, God's house should be a House of Prayer(Mark 11:17).
Some other things I have also learned from a study of Charles Stanley's book "Living the Extraordinary Life" are God has 3 answers for prayers: yes, no, and wait. Why does go make us wait? To see if we are spiritually ready for what we have asked for. To test our sincerity. To build our faith and to develop patience within us as we wait until His timing is right. Prayer and waiting are to be active processes. We should still be about seeking God's will though prayer, studying His word, and seeking wise counsel.
Another thing that has helped me in my own personal prayer life is keeping a prayer journal. I simply write my prayers down as I pray to God. I can go back and look at where God has answered prayers. It also helps me see how He is growing and maturing me as I spend time with Him.
I hope this post is helpful to someone. These things have been very important to me and my growth as a Christian.