Jesus prayed. And showed by his prayers what prayer can be: direct, simple, honest and passionate. Here, in Jesus’s own words (all quotes taken from The Daily Life Bible):
Don’t be long-winded. “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They want to be greeted with honor in the markets. They long for places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers.” (Mark 12:38-40)
Faith is everything. “Have faith in God. I assure you that whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’–and doesn’t waver but believes that what is said will really happen–it will happen. Therefore I say to you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you will receive it, and it will be so for you.” (Mark 11:22-24)
Forgive, forgive, forgive. “And when you stand up to pray, if you have something against anyone, forgive so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your wrongdoings.” (Mark 11:25)
Trust like a child. “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and shown them to babies.” (Luke 10:21)
Speak up. “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened you. For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Do it in secret. “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
Accept. “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Take this cup of suffering away from me. However–not what I want but what you want.” (Mark 14:36)
Countless books have been written on prayer and the Psalms themselves, wonderful, rich prayers, take up a big chapter in the middle of the Bible, but I find it helpful to remember that Jesus was typically direct and succinct on the topic.
When things became tough, when he was busy, he would get up early and go off by himself to pray. And when the disciples asked for a prayer, he gave them the Lord’s Prayer, which covers all bases in less than 100 words.
What an extraordinary model for all of us. When asked “How to pray?” it never hurts to go to the Source!
Watch me talk about The Daily Life Bible.