It has been said, “Prayer is a necessity to man because he is incurably religious.” Since the practice of prayer is not exclusive to Christians, I want it to be known that I am writing on the topic of prayer exclusively for Christians. My references therefore are from the Bible and other Christian literature.
Prayer is made up of the following elements: communion, adoration, thanksgiving, confession, petition, intercession, and submission. One’s attitude is paramount. Posture, correct grammar, place or time, do not make the ‘prayer’. What’s in your heart is what counts. God desires communion with us and we need the assurance of His friendship.
From the scriptures we are told that prayer will require several attributes such as [i] faith – Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 11:6, [ii] that it is directed by the Holy Spirit – Jude 20, [iii] in accordance with the will of God – 1st John 5:14-15, [iv] in the name of Jesus, John 14:13, 15:16, [v] that it is done by one who has confessed and renounced his or her sin[s] – Psalm 51, Isaiah 51:1-2, [vi] that you have a forgiving heart – Matthew 6:14-15, and most importantly that prayer should be a part of the outward work of the redemption process – 1st Timothy 2:1-4. As individuals we are responsible for our communication with God. We can avail ourselves of many instructions on prayer, but having done that, we must get on with the business of praying.
Every denomination has a pattern or style of prayer that can be of use to anyone who is serious about the ministry of prayer not only for his or her self but also for others. While researching on the Internet I came across something called the “ABC of prayer” and is a proponent of the ABC Prayer Crusade. Broken down it means A = Ask, B = Believe and C = Claim/Receive. It is based on Matthew 21:22, “if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer”. I’m sure many of us remember the days of “name it and claim it”. The following scriptures also support this method of prayer: Matthew 7:7, John 15:16, John 14:12-14, and John 5:14-15. But does it mean however that we get exactly what we ask, believe and claim??? I believe that when we pray in this fashion we are exhibiting a trust that God will come through. What we must not forget however, is that He will answer us according to His purpose and plan for our lives.
As a teacher of religion, when I instruct on the topic of "prayer" I share the ACTS method of prayer with my students. It breaks downs to A-adoration; C-Confession; T-Thanksgiving and, S-Supplication. Our prayers should reflect our adoration and awe of God, confess our faith and belief in a triune God, as mandated in God's word - give thanks for all things and supplicate or interecede for others.
There have been and will continue to be many writings on prayer and each will have a unique understanding of prayer. I trust that this is just one more that will help to develop or sustain the reader's prayer life.