By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8 (NIV)
A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom. The little boy turned to his mother and said, “Mama, I don’t want to go out there. It’s dark.”
The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. “You don’t have to be afraid of the dark,” she explained. “Jesus is out there. He’ll look after you and protect you.”
The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, “Are you sure he’s out there?” “Yes, I’m sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you need him,” she said.
The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and cracked it a little. Peering out into the darkness, he called, “Jesus? If you’re out there, would you please hand me the broom?” Anonymous
How do we pray “God-pleasing” prayers?
Is there one type of prayer that is better than another?
Is it necessary to fold your hands and bow your head before God is happy with our prayers?
Do we have to say, “Dear God,” at the beginning and “In Jesus Name. Amen” at the end?
Have a think about the above questions, what are your thoughts?
Then talk about the little boy’s prayer in the story – do you think that was God-pleasing? Why or why not?
I can see God smiling at some of the prayers we pray, but I don’t think he ever says, “No, I don’t think I will listen to that prayer as it wasn’t done right”. I can imagine God looking into people’s hearts to see their intentions and purposes for prayer. I have been in many Bible study groups, throughout the years, and there are always a couple of people who don’t want to pray aloud in the group. I once asked someone why they didn’t want to, and the response wasn’t, “I just don’t know what to say” … it was, “How do I know that God will be happy with my prayer?”
Are there any types of prayers that you think God may not be pleased with?
Read: Psalm 141:1,2 In this verse, the psalmist talks of prayer as sweet-smelling incense, a gift of love to God that drifts upwards to heaven.
Is there another analogy that you like to think prayer is like?
How would you describe prayer to a new Christian?
Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us. Knowing how to pray is not always easy. Praying allows us to plug into the power, perception, and purpose that can only be found in God’s presence. We can use the prayer of Jesus as a good example of God-pleasing prayers. He gave us the Lord’s Prayer as a model of how to pray:
- Praise God for who He is …
- Thank God …
- Ask for forgiveness …
- Ask for guidance and help …
- Pray for others …
- Pray for the world.
Jesus prayed continually to his Father, and God was always well-pleased with his Son and with all his words and works, which ultimately were from the Father himself. Much of what Jesus did and said was steeped with temple worship of the Old Testament as this is what the people knew and understood at the time. Jesus was called the High Priest who was able to talk directly to God and intercede on our behalf, which is what the High Priests did in the Old Testament times.
But Jesus was recreating how people could talk to God. He became the God-pleasing sacrifice who took upon himself the sins of the whole world. Then, as evidence that this sacrifice was accepted by God, the Father in heaven raised his Son from the dead Easter morning. This ultimate sacrifice made us presentable to God. Now we can come before God directly with all our prayers and requests.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:5b,6 (NIV)
What does it mean for you now that we are God’s priests?
What is your idea now on what may be God-pleasing prayers?
There is also a friendship that exists between Jesus and us.
Read John 15:12–17
In this reading Jesus states that he is not calling us to be his servants, but his friends. This friendship is also the reason that we can come to Jesus in prayer.
Jesus said: If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22 (NIV)
Jesus wants to hear what burdens and cares we have. He carried all these sins and burdens to the cross because of his immense love for us. All power in heaven and on earth accompanies this great love for us. So, whatever the problem, we can take it to our Lord in prayer.
Through Jesus, we can now approach our Heavenly Father directly and talk to him in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Know that everything we say to God is pleasing to him and we are loved unconditionally by our heavenly Father and our loving Saviour.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for accepting my prayers as offerings of praise to you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and allowing me to talk to you any time. … [add any personal prayers or prayers for the fellowship]. Amen.
Say the Lord’s Prayer to finish