[“What does it mean to pray for someone? I am curious about this…Do you pray? If so what do you pray for? I appreciate that these question may be deeply personal – so please do not answer them if you do not wish to – but I am curious. I can say that I do not pray, I hope and I wish for things to happen – but I do not pray to god. Is wishing or hoping for something the same as praying for something?”]
Before I go anywhere with this let me just make it clear that this is my personal view and is taken from the Bible so it is Christian rather than Hindu or any other meditative type. I know I have been accused before of using the Bible too much but I can’t possibly answer this without the help of the Bible.
Even though as you say this is personal I don’t mind sharing. There is nothing embarrassing about prayer. People who think that Christianity is only about intellectual ideas and does not include a spiritual side are only seeing one side of God. I do pray to God, as I keep on saying to people, becoming a Christian is about a relationship and not religion. In the same way you and I have good communication and exchange ideas, so we do exactly the same with God. God is portrayed in the Bible as our heavenly father. His attitude is often likened to the attitude of a parent, so if that is true then his desire to communicate with us and asking us to talk to him is very understandable.
If you ask me about specific answers to my prayers, then I’m happy to say that yes God does answer our prayers. Let me give you a personal example. Whilst studying in a foreign country, I had very little money, most of it went on my books etc. At one point I had to pray for more clothes and within a few days I had been given a brand new pair of shoes, a pair of trousers and some money, all from different people. None of them knew that I was in need. The answer was clear for me. So how did this happen? To give you more details, one lady from the Church I attended at the time simply approached me and said “I have just bought this for my son but it is too small for him, will this fit you?” Amazingly enough it was a perfect fit. Now I know we can talk about coincidence and I would not like to argue about that as I can appreciate that one man’s miracle is another man’s coincidence. However this is not the only time this has happened to me. I’m more than persuaded and I would argue that this is how God works, one person at a time as he does not have favourites. He is interested in all of humanity.
You may have heard of the acronym on prayer before. This is supposed to help and remind people what is to form part of our daily prayer. Here you will find how Jesus is instructing people how to pray in the Gospel of Luke chapter 11. I know it is the Bible but you did ask a specifically Christian question.
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Praise God – (Our Father who art in Heaven, holy is your name.)
Remember God is in control and he is faithful. – (Your Kingdom come…)
Ask for God’s guidance
Yield to God’s will – (Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.)
Expect God to take care of you. (Give us this day our daily bread…)
Repent, turn from sin and turn to God. (Lead us away from temptation,
deliver us from evil…)
Another one often used is Acronym for ACTS I have used this example in my sermons.
1. Acronym of ACTS: which I prefer to the above explanation even though above is attempt to use Lords Prayer where Jesus is instructing us on how to pray.
Some people receive great blessing in praying through the four steps of the acronym of ACTS:
Adoration (acknowledging God as the Creator of the Universe),
Confession (confessing our own sinfulness and weakness, specific sins),
Thanksgiving (thanking God for His personal benefits to us-forgiveness, family, and material comforts), and
Supplication (asking for what we need.)
I have included some Biblical references related to prayer if you are interested to dig deeper.
Defend the word
Prayer. Biblical References
- Through Christ. Eph 2:18; Heb 10:19.
- Pouring out the heart. Ps 62:8.
- Calling upon the name of the Lord. Genesis 12:8; Ps 116:4; Ac 22:16.
- Drawing near to God. Ps 73:28; Heb 10:22.
- Should be offered up
- In the Holy Spirit. Eph 6:18; Jude 1:20.
- In faith. Mt 21:22; Jas 1:6.
- In a forgiving spirit. Mt 6:12.
- With the spirit and understanding. John 4:22-24; 1Co 14:15.
- With confidence in God. Ps 56:9; 86:7; 1John 5:14.
- With submission to God. Luke 22:42.
- With holiness. 1Ti 2:8.
- With humility. 2Ch 7:14; 33:12.
- With truth. Ps 145:18; John 4:24.
- With desire to be heard. Nehemiah 1:6; Ps 17:1; 55:1,2; 61:1.
- With desire to be answered. Ps 27:7; 102:2; 108:6; 143:1.
- With boldness. Hebrew 4:16.
- Without ceasing. 1Th 5:17.
- Everywhere. 1Ti 2:8.
- In everything. Philippians 4:6.
- For temporal blessings. Genesis 28:20; Pr 30:8; Mt 6:11.
- For spiritual blessings. Mt 6:33.
- For mercy and grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:16.
- Model for. Mt 6:9-13.
- Vain repetitions in, forbidden. Mt 6:7.
- Ostentation in, forbidden. Mt 6:5.
- Repentance. 1Ki 8:33; Jeremiah 36:7.
- Confession. Nehemiah 1:4,7; Daniel 9:4-11.
- Praise. Ps 66:17.
- Thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6; Col 4:2.
- Seek divine teaching for. Lu 11:1.
- Standing. 1Ki 8:22; Mark 11:25.
- Bowing down. Ps 95:6.
- Kneeling. 2Ch 6:13; Ps 95:6; Lu 22:41; Ac 20:36.
- Falling on the face. Numbers 16:22; Joshua 5:14; 1Ch 21:16; Mt 26:39.
- Spreading forth the hands. Isaiah 1:15.
- Lifting up the hands. Ps 28:2; La 2:19; 1Ti 2:8.