(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.)
Have you ever felt like you didn’t know how to pray, or like you didn’t know the right words to say to God?
Throughout the years, thousands of books have been written on the subject of prayer. This great matter has many aspects. But in this post, we’ll discuss just one simple aspect of prayer: talking to God.
We’ll look at a few instances in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that can help shed light on this aspect of prayer.
A request for sight
As you read through the four Gospels, you’ll notice that the people who came to Jesus for help spoke to Him in an honest and straightforward way.
For instance, in Matthew 20:29-34 we have the story of the encounter between Jesus and two blind men:
“And as they were going out from Jericho, a great crowd followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David! And the crowd rebuked them so that they would be silent, but they cried out the more, saying, Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David! And Jesus, standing still, called them and said, What do you want Me to do for you? They said to Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. And Jesus, moved with compassion, touched their eyes, and immediately they received their sight and followed Him.”
When the two blind men heard that Jesus was near, they cried out to Him to have mercy on them. If they hadn’t cried out, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David,” they would have remained in their blindness. But they did cry out and Jesus heard them. He asked them what they wanted Him to do for them. The two blind men didn’t use fancy or formal expressions. They spoke straight from their heart and told Jesus what they wanted: their eyes to be opened.
A request for cleansing
Now let’s read Luke 5:12-13, where we have the story of Jesus and a leperous man:
“And while He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged Him, saying, Lord, if You are willing, You can cleanse me. And stretching out His hand, He touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed! And immediately the leprosy left him.”
Leprosy is a highly contagious and disfiguring disease. Yet when this leper saw Jesus, he asked Him very plainly to cleanse, or heal, him. Jesus didn’t recoil from him; instead, in His sympathy and love for this man, He touched him and healed him.
Learning how to pray from these cases
So what can we learn from these cases about how to pray? As these people conversed with Jesus, they were essentially praying to Him. They simply let Him know what they hoped He would do for them.
It’s easy for us to overcomplicate the matter of prayer. We may think we need to pray in a certain way, or that we need to repeat the right combination of words in order for the Lord to hear us. But these accounts in the Gospels show us that we can freely talk to the Lord in a genuine way.
How we can converse with Jesus today
The blind men and the leper had the privilege of meeting Jesus and telling Him their requests in person. But at that time, when Jesus lived on the earth, they had to be in the right place at the right time in order to do so.
For us believers today, Jesus now lives in our spirit, our deepest part. This means He’s always with us. We don’t need to be in a special place, or reserve our prayer for a special time.
Because He’s always with us, we can talk with Him any time, anywhere, as often as we wish! The Lord lives in us and wants to be involved in every area of our life. He already knows everything we need, but He wants us to talk to Him and tell Him what’s on our heart. As we talk to the Lord throughout the day, we gain more than the answer to our requests. We experience sweet and continual fellowship with Him.
Some examples of conversing with the Lord
We can talk to the Lord in many ways about all kinds of things. Below are just a few examples. No matter what our situation or need may be, we just need to open our hearts to the Lord and be direct and genuine with Him.
As we begin our day, we can pray something like this:
“Lord Jesus, good morning. Thank You for another day. Thank You for this new day for me to experience and enjoy You living in me.”
Later, we might want to pray to the Lord about an unsaved family member:
“Lord Jesus, my father still isn’t saved. I really want him to know You. Oh Lord, save him!”
Sometimes we’re burdened with many cares. But 1 Peter 5:7 is an encouraging word:
“Casting all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you.”
So we can pray about our cares like this:
“Oh Lord Jesus, I need You. I’m really anxious today. I need Your help. Lord, I cast all of my anxieties on You. I can’t deal with all these things, but You can. Thank You that it matters to You concerning me.”
At other times, when we realize how much we need to grow in the Lord, we can just pray, “Lord, grow in me more today.”
We can pray about anything. We can ask the Lord for something, thank Him, or say, “Lord Jesus, I love You.”
If we don’t know where to start, we can begin by calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus. Calling on His name is a form of praying, and often, we’ll find the words to say to the Lord as we call on Him.
From these examples, we can see that our prayers don’t need to be complicated or formal. The Lord is living within us, waiting for us to open to Him and talk to Him.
As we go on in our Christian life, we can have hundreds of thousands of conversations with the Lord Jesus about anything and everything. He may not answer our requests immediately or in the way we expect, but He cares about every detail of our lives. He’s always ready to listen to whatever is on our heart, and we can enjoy sweet fellowship with Him as we talk to Him.
The New Testament Recovery Version is full of detailed notes that will help you understand the Word of God. If you live Australia, you can order a free copy here and get more insight into the accounts from the Gospels mentioned in this post.