As we pray, our minds should be guided by God’s Word. Our prayer life grows as our knowledge and understanding of God increase. But our knowledge needs to be worship; it needs to be experiential. Are we applying our knowledge, are we walking in it? Prayer is meant to be transformative. To learn more about these things, consider listening to the following sermons as Dr. Caldwell exposits Matthew 6: 5-13 and Philippians 4:6-6:
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Questions Christians Have About Prayer
To whom should we pray when we pray? How should our prayers be structured? Are there practical steps we can take to grow and be more effective in our prayer lives? Should we have a private prayer closet?
Do you have questions about prayer? Do you wonder if there is a better or best way to pray? Do you often feel ineffective and struggle in or even to pray? If any of these questions come to mind when you think about prayer, know that you are not alone. Dr. Caldwell says there is probably nothing harder or more difficult in the Christian life than prayer. It requires discipline, motivation, time, effort, focus, and intentionality. As Christians, we want to grow in our prayer life, be better at it, and pray rightly. Questions about prayer often reflect our struggle to do these things. Join us this week on the Straight Truth Podcast as Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot sit down to discuss these questions and more common to many Christians.
Throughout the New Testament and the doxologies contained within, we understand that God is Trinitarian. God is one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity is worthy of praise and worship. But the pattern we find most often in the New Testament is that we address the Father in and through the Son, done in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the normal and regular way that we pray as New Testament Christians. Consider the Lord’s prayer found in both Matthew and Luke.
The very approach we take in prayer reveals something about our knowledge of God. Our Father knows what we need before we ask for it, and He has promised to answer us through the means of prayer. We need to be comforted by the knowledge that He isn’t answering our prayers based on the pristine nature of the structure or the language. We want to seek the Lord knowing who He is and what His truth is, striving for our hearts and minds to agree with Him, and knowing that what He does transcends our ability to pray.
The Lord’s prayer is called the Lord’s prayer because He is the one who gave it. But in reality, it is the disciple's prayer. The Lord’s disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. When it comes to prayer, they perceived a sense of inadequacy, as do we. However, it is important to note that as Jesus gives this prayer, He does not say, ‘pray this’. Jesus says, ‘pray like this’. So the prayer isn’t one to be repeated over and over again verbatim. It is meant to be a teaching model about what prayer is. It’s a prayer for how disciples ought to pray.
Dr. Caldwell briefly explains the prayer from the verses of Matthew 6. He tells us its elements contain a world of truth in a very concentrated form. He shares that he hasn’t done justice to it in his condensed explanation, but if we take the time to study it, it will serve us in the way that Jesus intended it to.
Prayer is communication with our God. It is an expression of our love and devotion to Him. Prayer is a relational discipline that is an expression of our faith. It admits dependence and has a work aspect to it as we labor to express our needs and those of others before our God. Dr. Caldwell shares an example of the work aspect from Colossians 4:12, where Epaphroditus struggled, agonized, and labored in his prayers over his brothers and sisters in Christ. But says Dr. Caldwell, this isn’t something where just greater effort and more time devoted to it is pleasing to God. Jesus warns about some of the wrong kinds of prayer in Matthew 6 and Mark 12.
There is even a sense in which prayer ought to be spontaneous. We don’t need to think specifically in terms of prescribed times of prayer, as much as we need to think of what the spiritual discipline is and the kind of motivation that should move us to it. We want to be living our lives in such a condition where prayer is able to be practiced at any time in our hearts and minds, being mindful of God and the spiritual needs around us. Yet, there will also be times when we need to pull ourselves away and devote ourselves to private, intimate time with the Lord. This doesn’t need to be a physical closet with a door that can be shut. It just needs to be a place where we are able to experience uninterrupted intimacy with our God.
Dr. Caldwell says some practical steps we can take to grow in prayer would be to pray the Scriptures. Praying through the Scriptures enlarges our perspective. It helps us to break out of the patterns of prayer we can fall into. He also shares it's a good thing to begin and end our day with prayer, saying there is no better way to start and end our days. We want to be constantly aware of our neediness, that without God, we can do nothing. Prayer recognizes the sovereignty of God to work in all situations of life and that there is nothing too difficult for Him. So when we pray, we submit our wills to Him being content and satisfied with whatever He deems best. This is true as we pray both for ourselves and others.
But how do we pray this way for others when we don’t know their need or circumstances? What do we do when we don’t have specifics when all we have is someone's ‘unspoken’ prayer request? How do we pray about something we don’t know anything about? Dr. Caldwell offers some insightful thoughts on this, but the simple answer is we can pray for the person who has asked since we have no way of knowing what else to pray for. Dr. Caldwell also has some helpful and encouraging thoughts for those who submit ‘unspoken’ prayer requests. These include transparency, sharing with pastors and/or elders, asking for prayer for ourselves as we go through things we deem un-sharable, and even praying about the matter ourselves before the Lord. Dr. Caldwell says that it is possible that we share these unspoken requests out of a sense of weakness and struggles to pray about the circumstances ourselves. He also says that some things that end up on a prayer list often belong in our prayer closets as we go and take them to the Lord ourselves.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
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