The Due and Propers, how do you pray properly?
The two most important things you must know about prayer is this, don't ask for material things, and don't complain about anything. For 9 out of 10 people in the world, we have just eliminated the entire contents of all of their prayers, my goodness is there anything left over?
The most important commandment is, "You shall love God the Father with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind". (Matthew 22:36-38) This is the premise that all prayer and worship must be based upon.
The only proper contents of a prayer are these two things, praising the Father and thanking the Father.
If you always stick to these guidelines then you have truly learned the proper way to pray. My goodness, where does receiving all the goodies come in? If the relationship that you are trying to build with the Father is based on getting stuff guess what, he won't be giving you anything. That kind of puts a damper on the whole thing doesn't it? Well maybe yes and maybe no, just what is the real underlying reason for you praying? That is a question most of us really don't want to explore too deeply, it may reveal a little blackness in our soul that we prefer not to think too much about.
"Request prayers" or
asking for things is really a "veiled complaint". You ask God "please give me a
new car". But he hears a complaint. He hears "the car that you have already
given me is a piece of junk, you are not taking care of me very well".
Make him happy. Just thank him and tell him how wonderful this world that he has given us is. That makes him feel good. Request prayers make him cringe. How do you feel when your wife starts asking for a new house or if you can find a way to make more money? You cringe. As does he.
You are laying a "guilt trip" on God the Father himself. You are making him feel bad. Can you imagine that? He comes closer to hear your quiet intimate prayer of thanks and praise and instead you give him a "wish list for Santa Claus". What a horror show for him. He likes you, you pray, but you hurt him terribly when he comes near.
He is thinking that you have come to thank him or offer praise about this wonderful world that he has given you and instead you sock him in the eye when he draws close enough for you to do it. It is like trying to kiss a rattlesnake for him to hear a prayer from you that makes him feel bad like that. Soon he will avoid all close contact with you and your guilt trips. You actually hurt God himself. Way to go. How unsavory a "request prayer" is. If God cries it would be because of all the "material request prayers" asking for things that he receives. They are the worst. And they are not biblical. He already knows what your needs are, save the rehashing. (Matthew 6:8)
Try using "reverse psychology" in your prayers, never ask for anything. The Father just may be thankful enough for that to reward you with what you secretly desire. But only if you keep it a secret. Don't worry that your secret desires will never even be known by him because you kept your mouth shut and will therefore be lost, he knows your every thought since the day you were born, he will not miss it. Reverse psychology and maturity in your praying habits will one day pay off big for you.
And anyway, he has the habit of not giving you the material things that you ask for as punishment for making him feel bad. You will shoot yourself in the foot for anything that you ask for. Don't ask, have some faith that he knows your desires already and then as a reward you may actually get it. That is the only way that will work. Reverse psychology. Just offer thanks and praise to him, that is all.
God is responsible for your daily provisions and he is always willing to make sure that you have enough. Enough being the key word, give a human being more than enough and the exact opposite of what God wants will occur, you will almost always stop earnestly seeking communion with the Father. You should be aware that the only reason the Father created human beings in the first place is for his pleasure and to have fellowship with them, you can save yourself a lot of time by understanding this entirely. So if your secret goal is to receive a gold mine, you can rest assured that is never going to be in the cards. You have not discovered Santa Claus, you are trying to make an intimate connection with the most high God himself.
If my prayers are to consist entirely of praise and thanksgiving only, how am I going to tell the Father what is going on in my life right now and why I think that I need this or that in a big hurry? That is a problem, but it is a problem that is based on your lack of fully understanding of just exactly where the Father is at all times. You see God the Father is ALWAYS sitting right next to you, always. You may not be able to see him but rest assured that he is surely there. He is already 100% aware of each and everything that is going on in your life right now. He is 100% dedicated to you and only to you. He does not split up his time in any way, not even a tiny little bit, most people make the mistake of assuming that inherently God must be a very busy entity and that he just checks in on them for a few minutes about every other week or so. No that is not the case, the Father is always 100% committed to you and to you alone. And he is always right next to you. He is there right now. You could even touch him if he made himself solid. Less than an arms length away from you.
You see when each human is born a copy of God or "a clone of God" if you like is assigned to each and everyone of you. And that version of God's spirit has very supernatural sense abilities, the nose of a bloodhound times one thousand. And that version of God's spirit always stays within three feet of every human. It has to, it carries the "divine spark" that makes you tick. That certain something that the egg head scientists can never pin down or in anyway recreate themselves. That is why a "scientist" never has and never will create any form of life, not even a tiny worm, nothing.
God's spirit hears your every word and he knows your every thought (so be very very careful with those). Most people would be more than a little embarrassed to find out that God sticks to them like white on rice, 24/7, each and every second of each and every day. (Jeremiah 23:23-24) That being said you might then start to understand just how redundant and unnecessary it is to think that you have to tell the Father anything about your situation or needs, believe me he already knows. Stick to telling him all the things he doesn't know, like just how thankful you are for all the blessings and provisions that you already have, that is the only path that will work well with the Father.
To help you to more clearly understand how to pray and communicate with the Father in a more pleasing way he has dictated an all new creed called the "Lord's Creed". It is really a concise snapshot of the entire New Holy Bible condensed down into one short easy to remember paragraph. The Father's new "Lord's Creed", the motto for the New Millennium:
"Make all of your prayers consist of Praise and Thanksgiving only,
Make each one a unique and original love letter from your heart,
And then you will prosper in all of your ways".
Do you feel that you really don't have anything to thank God about right now? How about for your next heartbeat, believe me he is the one giving it to you, that is a good place to start. You will find that getting down on your knees and offering a prayer of thanksgiving for all your existing blessings can really help turn around any problem or situation. The prophet Jonah disobeyed God and as a consequence found himself in the belly of a whale, after three days of crying out to God produced no change he found the solution. As Jonah floated there in what must have been a very frightening situation he started to thank God for all his blessing in a prayer of thanksgiving and before you know it the whale not only spit him out, it actually deposited him right on the shore. (Jonah 2:9)
Everyone is looking for the big secret about God and I will be glad to reveal it to you right now. The more that you get down on your knees and offer thanks and praise to the Father, the more he will put into your life that you will be thankful for. It then becomes a self fulfilling prophesy with no limit and no end. There it is, the mystery has been solved, case closed, your long persistence in the pursuit of a better understanding of God has been rewarded and you now have discovered the long forgotten source of the mother lode. Well done.
All the material things that the Father has set up for you to receive during your lifetime is already on a long list with your name on it, every item on that list has a date next to it that is when the Father will to give it to you. There is a reason he decides the dates, each item that he gives you is tied into a much greater plan for your life. In other words if you received the item any earlier or any later it would not fulfill the special purpose that God has for you receiving that item in your life at the exact correct time. In fact receiving the item at any different time could spell disaster for your life. The red corvette that you always wanted and purchased even though you could not afford it many times winds up wrapped around a tree with you in it. God's timing is always perfect although many times his timing does not match the timing of our desires. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you", (Matthew 6:33) means just that. Your job is to seek and find God, his job is to take care of your material needs. Stick to your job. Just thank him.
God the Father labels himself over and over in the bible as "a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14), he desires that you make him the highest priority in your life. You are in essence entering into a marriage relationship with him and he demands all the love, respect and attention that a human spouse would require. The Father has chosen reverent prayer as the means to communicate with him, a very very common mistake is to create any type of "Standard" prayers that you use each morning and evening such as simply reciting the Lord's Prayer. The Lords Prayer was never meant to be recited verbatim, Jesus meant for it to be an example of the type of prayer the Father would find pleasing. If you ever develop a close relationship with the Father you will feel his eyes glaze over and his attention drop when you stop saying what is in your heart and begin to "go standard" with any repetitive words in your prayers. God literally HATES any and all forms of repetitive "Standard Prayers" (read this for more information on that subject).
The Father only wants to know what is going on in your heart, he is not a babbling idiot, if he wanted to hear the same thing over and over again he would have bought a tape recorder. The bible specifically points this out as a very important thing to avoid in your prayers, "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words". (Matthew 6:7) You have to look at this from the point of view of the Father, if he knows that he can expect the same exact words over and over day in and day out, just how interesting do you think that is for him to hear, why should he even bother to listen?
The only thing that is meant to be standard is just who all your prayers should be addressed to and that is always to the Father. (see - Just who do you pray to?) Jesus said "Pray then in this way, Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name," etc.. (Matthew 6:9) He alone is tasked with the responsibility of hearing and responding to all your communication offered up to God in the form of prayers.
God the Father is looking to create a "24/7 on line connection" with you. What he desires is to always be in the forefront of your mind. It is written that "only one thing is needed" (Luke 10:42) and what is meant by that is that the Father is in control of everything in the world and the only thing that you have to worry about is if you are pleasing to him or if you are not. In the Old Testament he required sacrifices of animals to show him proper attentiveness but after Jesus became the ultimate and final sacrifice for all he is looking for a completely different type of sacrifice, he now wants you to offer up your time and attention. The Father wants you to avoid the distraction devices of the world such as television sets and radios and to spend some time in quiet solitude seeking a connection and communion with him.
God created in the first place humans for camaraderie and to increase his pleasure. We are an interesting project of his. God's biggest and most repeated complaint is that all his children are "stiff necked". Note Acts 7:51, "You are stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears and you always resist the Holy Spirit, just as your fathers did, so do you". And Exodus 32:9, "And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff necked people". At least 15 times throughout the bible God makes this complaint about his ignoring children. What does this mean to be "stiff necked?" It means that we never look up. We ignore God. We take God for granted. All God wants is to move into the forefront of our mind on a regular basis. He wants you to bend your neck. And look up once in a while. Don't be stiff necked.
What the due and proper level of worship and prayer is a different thing for each person, it depends on the level of intimacy you have developed with the Father. He will always let you know if he thinks you are being too slothful and cutting corners a bit. The biggest thing that he desires is that you pay attention to him, we are to always "Be on the alert!". (Mark 13:37) The Father wants to know if you can throttle back all the distractions and fleshly desires of this world long enough to remember and be attentive to the one force in this universe that really loves you and always desires the very best for you.
As to the best body position used for praying, that would be on your knees. The only exception to that hard and fast rule is if you have a real debilitating health problem that absolutely prevents you from praying on your knees. Otherwise, you drop to your knees, clasp your hands in prayer, close your eyes and then SLOWLY (very very slowly, the slower the better) bow your head. If you simply bow your head quickly, that will ruin the prayer. That is a sign of disrespect to God to bow your head quickly. You are simply going through the motions. You are demonstrating that it really means nothing to you. Show a little reverence and demonstrate a little respect. Take a little time and make it a precious moment that actually means something. The slower you bow your head the better. That alone, a very very slow bowing of the head, gives God a warm smile. You don't even have to say anything and he is already happy with you. You get it.
Audible prayers are much preferred by God, but you can pray silently should your environment preclude speaking audibly.
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