Know Your Bible: How to Pray
Learn how to make prayer meaningful and effective by establishing direct, one-on-one contact with God.

Did you know that your heavenly Father is eager to get to know you? That’s right!

God talks to us through His written Word, the Holy Bible. And the way we talk to Him is through prayer! Prayer is simply our part of a two-way conversation with God. In this way, we get to know God, and He comes to know us.

One of the hardest things for many young people to learn is how to pray effectively. In this study, however, we will show you how easy it is to establish direct, one-on-one contact with God. You’ll discover the keys to making prayer meaningful and effective.

Be sure to look up and read the scripture references given to answer the questions. Also, you may want to grab a pen or pencil and some paper. Writing out the verses referred to will help you remember the important principles you’ll learn.

1. Does God want us to seek Him and make our requests known? Isaiah 55:6-7; Matthew 7:7; Philippians 4:6.

God wants us to tell Him, as we would a parent or a close friend, how we feel and what we think. We do this through heartfelt prayer. Prayer is personal, private, sincere communication with the Supreme Power of the universe.

2. Does God hear and delight in the prayers of those who seek to please Him and do His will? Psalm 34:17; Proverbs 15:8; 1 Peter 3:12.

3. Can God know our needs even before we tell Him? Matthew 6:8. Will He give us those things we ask for? Matthew 21:22; 1 John 3:22; 5:14-15.

God knows what is good for us. He will supply our every need if we ask according to His will, and if we believe and obey His laws. Prayer is not an isolated and optional religious exercise. It’s a vital factor significant in determining your eternal destiny!

4. Did Jesus Christ, who talked often to God, have absolute confidence that His heavenly Father always heard His prayers? John 11:41-42.

Christ knew that God continually heard Him because He always pleased His Father (John 8:29).

5. Did one of Jesus’s students ask Him to teach His disciples how to pray? Luke 11:1.

Christ gave His disciples a prayer outline after which to pattern their own prayers. (These instructions are found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.)

6. Did Jesus begin by telling His disciples to pray in a private place? Matthew 6:5-6. And did He set an example by spending the first part of each day in prayer—before anything else could interrupt Him? Mark 1:35. What was Jesus’s physical position when He prayed? Luke 22:41.

It is important to pray in a private place—perhaps in your bedroom, or even in a closet if you’re spending the night at a friend’s house. You should make an effort to kneel down on both knees when you pray—this shows God that you respect Him. You should also set aside a regular time to pray. For many people, the morning is best—before the school or work day gets started.

7. Did Christ tell His disciples to repeat His sample prayer over and over, or were they to pray in a similar way—“after this manner”? Matthew 6:9. Didn’t He previously tell them not to repeat the exact same prayer every time? Verse 7.

Notice that Jesus did not call this the “Lord’s Prayer” as many do today. He didn’t want His disciples to memorize this particular passage and repeat it when they prayed. Nor did He want them to pray only for themselves. (The words “I,” “me” or “my” don’t appear once in these verses.) Christ was simply outlining the unselfish, correct approach to God in prayer and the basic things we should ask for. Let’s study His inspired guide to prayer and learn how to actually talk to God.

8. Notice how Jesus began His example of a complete prayer. To whom did He say we should pray? Verse 9.

Jesus came to reveal the Father to us (John 1:18), and He always addressed the Father in His prayers.

God the Father resides in heaven. He sits on a majestic throne, surrounded by dazzling beauty (Revelation 4:2-11). When you speak to the Father in your prayers, realize that you have a personal audience with the Supreme Ruler of all things! Most people would treasure a private meeting with one of this world’s kings or presidents. Think how much greater is our privilege of coming daily before the Father’s throne—to talk to the God of this universe!

9. Are we to honor, or “hallow,” the Father’s name when we pray to Him? Matthew 6:9, last four words. Did young King David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), approach God in an attitude of praise, worship and adoration? Psalm 18:1-3; 104:33.

When we begin our prayers, we should not only address and think of God as our Father, but also honor and praise His great name, His magnificent office, His sterling character and His outgoing love toward mankind. We should be sure to thank Him for our existence, for our parents and for our material possessions.

10. How did Jesus continue His model prayer? Matthew 6:10, first sentence.

When we pray “Your kingdom come,” we are asking for and looking forward to the time when God’s family government will be established on this Earth through the return of Jesus Christ as ”King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). It is yearning for the time when Satan the devil will be supernaturally restrained from influencing humanity for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). And it is earnestly desiring the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:19-21)—a time of peace, happiness and prosperity for everyone. During the World Tomorrow, the Ten Commandments will be the standard for daily life everywhere (Isaiah 11:9).

11. What did Jesus say in the second part of Matthew 6:10?

In this section of your prayers, you should ask God to help you understand and surrender to His will. Ask God to help you express His loving character to all those with whom you come in contact. Ask Him to show you how to live the “give” way. Ask God to direct every single aspect of His end-time Work, including the articles on this website.

12. What is the next request of Jesus’s sample prayer? Verse 11.

Although certainly not put first, this request is necessary. We need to ask God to supply our daily needs. Ask Him to bless your parents so they may provide the family with adequate food, clothing, shelter and other necessities. Christ set the example of praying for others’ needs as well (John 17:20). We ought to do the same.

13. Are we also to ask forgiveness of our sins? Matthew 6:12. (The word “debts” here refers to sins.)

All of us sin often in one way or another. We need to recognize and repent of our habitual sins, and then ask our merciful Father to forgive us (Psalm 86:5).

We should also learn to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15). God will forgive us only if we are willing to forgive others. So we should ask God to help us be merciful, especially to those who may have offended or hurt us in some way (Luke 6:28).

14. What is the last request of Jesus’s model prayer? Matthew 6:13, first sentence. This statement is better translated: “Bring us not into sore trial, but deliver us from the evil one [Satan].”

We should pray daily and fervently that God would not allow us to be brought unnecessarily into any severe trial or temptation, and that He would help us to reject wrong desires and do His will.

15. Before concluding our prayers, in whose name should we acknowledge that we are praying? John 16:23, second sentence.

All our requests should be made in Jesus’s name. We can rightfully ask God for things “in Jesus’ name” when we know it is His will—that His authority stands behind our requests!

Jesus’s inspired prayer outline in Matthew 6 ends with praise and adoration, just as it began (verse 13). This reminds us once again to whom we are praying and of the character and office of the true God who rules over His vast creation.

Finally, as Jesus shows by this example prayer, we are to conclude with the word “amen”—which simply means, “So be it.”

16. Now that we know the basic mechanics of prayer, how often should we pray? Psalm 55:16-17; Daniel 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

From their youth, both David and Daniel developed the habit of praying at least three times a day. This helped them stay close to God. Remaining in a prayerful attitude all day long is what it means to “pray without ceasing.”

If you haven’t begun to do so, start now to establish direct contact with the Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of the entire universe. Pray to God every day. You’ll begin to experience blessings beyond measure, and have the truly successful life God wants you to enjoy—for God delights in all those who talk to Him!