"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. (pretenders) For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." Matthew 6:5
The disciples asked Jesus how to pray, they didn't ask Him how to cast out demons, or heal the sick, or even how to raise the dead, they wanted to know how to effectively communicate with God! Their desire to be able to be like their Master came about because of the things He did in their sight, and they knew His personal relationship with the Father gave Him the power He displayed before them.
Jesus told the disciples to go into a place of privacy and to speak to their heavenly Father in secret and He would reward them, in other words go to God just like you would your earthly father and share your heart with Him, and He will answer you! Jesus also told them not to pray using vain repetition thinking they would be heard for their many words. Then He told them to pray in this manner giving them the Lord's prayer and the prayer itself, over time, turned into a vain repetition.
In order to hit the target one must develop an intimate relationship with God through prayer, fasting and meditation of His word. When you were a child you pretty well knew if you would get an answer from your father or mother because you knew them intimately and how they thought, and many times you would even know what they were going to say before they said it, so it is with God, as you begin to spend quality time with Him, you begin to know Him and His will for you, instead of praying in your car for five minutes in a panic!
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call to Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11-14
PRAYING WITH A PURE HEART
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14,15
In order for one to have a pure heart before God his conscience must be clear of unforgiveness and bitterness against others as well as any other sin that would hinder his prayers including arguments with your spouse. The line of communication must be clear for you to reach the Father in prayer and to confess your sins and trespasses to Him before you make request of Him is a good way to begin.
It is possible to walk in the Spirit with a pure heart before God praying and communicating with Him as you would with any other family member knowing that if there is an argument or a quarrel, the line of communication stops until their is reconciliation. Most men have experienced this with their wives that when there is a fight the women will sulk until the man asks for forgiveness and then she will begin to speak to him again. So it is with God, we being His bride and He being our Husband, we must remain in a constant peaceful relationship with one another.
There was once a monk named Brother Lawrence born in the 1600's who became a common cook in the monastery who learned to live in constant communication with God, even while he worked. He called this method "Practicing the Presence of God" in which he would pray and worship Him throughout every hour of the day and he said that this is what he will be doing throughout all eternity. We would do well to learn this practice in order to build a constant and consistent relationship with our heavenly Father and to enjoy His company continually as we seek to know Him better.
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7
PRAYING IN FAITH BELIEVING
But let him ask in faith, without doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, being unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8
We all have been given a measure of faith, but unless we exercise that faith it will not grow, but remain in a dormant state like seed that is not planted and it will bear no fruit. Most of the people I have observed over the years who claim to be followers of Jesus never exhibit any faith but continue to rely on the world and the natural realm of things instead of taking God at His word and stepping out in faith, trusting Him with all of their heart.
Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod meaning that the Pharisees represented a worldly religious mindset like we have today, and Herod represented a political world view in which we also have, where the church refuses to trust God, but rallies for their country and practices a hypocritical religious ritual to be seen by men. This is the reason we see very few miracles today, because God's people are polluted with a politically correct religious leaven of unbelief that has become a stagnant pool, unable to flow with God's Spirit.
In order to see the glorious miracles, signs and wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ you will have to step out of your boat of unbelief and trust Him as Peter did when he walked on water. We, the body of Christ are called to be like Him in the earth and to pray in faith, believing Him for the miraculous in order for the world to see Him and be transformed by His glorious power. If you have been suffocating in a religious box of unbelief that promotes submission to men and the world, come out and stretch out your wings of faith and begin to exercise that which God has given you to fulfill His purpose in you.
The effective; fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain for three years six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin