“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. 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. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
How Should We Pray to God?
Today, I would like to explain to you how we should pray to the Lord. First of all, the Lord said here in today’s Scripture passage that whenever we pray to God, we should not be like the hypocrites. This means that we should not pray just to show off our own piety to others, standing in the church or on street corners just to be seen. To whom should we pray then? Of course, we should pray to the righteous God.
As the righteous, would there be some sort of quota that we must meet when we pray to God? No, the quantity of prayer does not matter. What really matters is that we pray to God sincerely and faithfully. It’s only natural that all of us should pray to God faithfully. The question is, however, is how we should pray. Should we pray loudly standing on a busy street corner for everyone to see? No, as already mentioned, this is not the case. The Lord told us to pray quietly to God instead, so that only He may hear us. God the Father will then listen to our prayers and answer our requests.
For us to pray to God in the right way, the first thing we must do is to remove any obstacles that stand between Him and us. Only then can we come into the presence of God. This means, if there are any obstacle that prevents us from approaching God with a clear conscience, we must first remove it. Such obstacles could be our failure to live according to God’s commandments, or it could be our unwillingness to forgive the mistakes of our fellow brothers and sisters. All such things that make it impossible for us to live in the light are obstacles, and we must remove them first before we come to the presence of God the Father, for the Father sees everything in secret.
It’s therefore imperative for us to examine ourselves to see if we have abided in the light before God, and if we see anything wrong in our lives, we should remember that all such sins were passed onto Jesus Christ once and for all when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and pray to Him by placing our faith in the righteousness of God. To do so, faith in God’s righteousness is obviously indispensable, but it is also necessary for us to recognize and confess all our wrongdoings. In this way, by placing our faith in God’s Word of Truth, we should get every problem of any transgressions solved away.
Second, whenever we come to God and pray to Him, we shouldn’t pray just about our own fleshly benefits. Such prayers are very problematic. The Book of James says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). What does this passage mean? It means that God does not answer any prayer that’s offered for the wrong reason. No answer is God’s answer to such mistaken prayers.
Therefore, whenever we come into the presence of God, we must get the problem of our sins solved first, and secondly, we should not pray for our own fleshly pleasures. Put differently, we should pray only for the benefit of the Kingdom of God without any ulterior motives. All of us should think of what pleases our God and pray for this. If we instead pray to God just for the gratification of our own fleshly desires, then our prayers will not be answered.
Everyone’s problem of sin can be solved only by placing one’s faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit which was fulfilled by the Lord. And it can be solved only by believing in the Word of God. We can also get our actual problems resolved by asking God for His help. However, even we the righteous may face a problem when we try to come to the presence of God and pray to Him. The worst problem occurs when we pray for just our needs instead of praying for the righteousness of God. Such prayers cloud our minds. They cannot make our hearts bold. In fact, they actually prevent our hearts from having any courage at all. That’s because when such prayers are offered, we come into the presence of God only for our own interests. In contrast, the Lord said to us clearly in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” The Lord told us to first pray for the benefit of the Kingdom of God, and for His work of salvation. Such prayers are what God wants from us. Whenever we pray, we should have the right disposition of the heart that God wants us to have. Our prayers will face no obstacle then.
When there is no obstacle preventing us from approaching God, we are able to pray with full confidence to Him, who sees in secret. It’s then that we can pray to God boldly. And it’s from then on that all our needs are met. Like this, every obstacle that’s between God and us must be removed. We can then pray to God sincerely. We can pray to God truly for His righteousness.
We Must Offer the Prayers That God Wants to Hear from Us
When we pray, we should pray as the following: “Lord, we pray for the servants of God preaching Your gospel. Protect them and pour Your power on them, so that Your amazing work of spreading the gospel may be carried out all over the world. We ask You to draw many souls to them, help Your servants to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit even more boldly, and save from sin all the souls that hear this gospel.” When we pray like this, boldness will spring forth in our hearts, and we would be able to offer a prayer of faith. And we should also pray as the following: “Father, please watch over all our brothers and sister so that they may be in good health. Strengthen all Your servants and bless them all, so that the gospel of the water and the Spirit may continue to spread all over the world.” This means that we should pray for God’s benefit and the building and expansion of His Kingdom, without seeking to gratify our own fleshly desires. Such prayers are the real prayers that are offered to God.
If we want to pray for the sake of the Kingdom of God, then we must pray by trusting in the Word of God. To do so, we must first get the problem of our sins resolved. And we must cast aside our own fleshly desires before coming into the presence of God and pray for His benefit first. Our prayer will then be made sincere, faith will spring forth, and our hearts will be emboldened. We should pray for other souls, our brothers and sisters, the servants and workers of God, and we should come out to God with the problems that His people are facing and pray on their behalf. In short, we should offer prayers of righteousness to God. That’s why, whenever we pray, we should pray with confidence to God who sees in secret and look towards Him alone, instead of praying loudly in front of other people.
This is because our hope is in the Kingdom of Heaven. The purpose of our prayer should therefore be placed in the righteous work of God above all else. Our prayer must be for God’s righteous work. And our righteous prayer must be answered only by God. That’s because only the righteous God can hear all our prayers and answer them. Let me reiterate the point once again: Before you come into the presence of God to pray, you must first solve the problem of your sins, and you must not have any selfish motives. And you should pray for the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God’s servants, the salvation of the lost souls, and the problems that your brothers and sisters are facing.
When you pray like this, it’s actually your own soul and faith that are benefited. Ultimately, such prayers are offered for the Kingdom of God. You come to pray as the following: “Lord, make me live a righteous life. Make me live for Your righteousness. Give me faith in the Word of God. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and empower me to serve the gospel even more. Give me a righteous heart.”
Those who pray sincerely do not pray to show themselves off to others, but to make their requests known to God. Such people come to the presence of the righteous God and ask for His help in a one-to-one conversation with God. Whenever you ask for God’s help, the most important thing is that you should get the problem of your sins resolved away first, and then cast aside your own desires and pray for the benefit of the Kingdom of God. You can then offer the right prayer. All of us should indeed pray to God in the right way.
It’s then very important for us to learn about what kind of prayer is the right prayer. Our Lord said in today’s Scripture passage: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. 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. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:5-6). Therefore, as the Lord is teaching us here, all of us should pray sincerely and faithfully for the righteousness of God. As God’s servants and saints, we must learn to offer such prayers.
Whenever we pray, the most important thing is that we should solve the problem of our sins away first by believing in the Word of God that has come as the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should then cast aside our own desires, pray for the benefit of the Kingdom of God, and then finally pray for our needs. Prayers that are offered in this way then become interceding prayers that go around the whole world. For this to come about, we must pray for the expansion of the Kingdom of God first.
Prayers That Are Offered for the Expansion of the Kingdom of God
Jesus has taught us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:32). What, then, does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? It means seeking the interest of the Kingdom of God. What kind of prayer seeks the interest of the Kingdom of God then? Such prayers are offered as the following: “Lord, please watch over the servants of Your Kingdom and be with them always. Let the gospel of the water and the Spirit cover the whole earth, and let this gospel be testified to every tribe. Make everyone in this world believe in Your gospel, even to the ends of the earth. And bless all the families of the righteous as well, so that their souls may also be saved from sin. Lord, we also ask You to bless us with abundant prosperity, so that we may spread Your gospel even more vigorously. Keep us healthy so that we may devote ourselves even more to Your Kingdom. Bless everyone in Your work that we are carrying out. Fill us with the Holy Spirit. Make our faith even stronger. Strengthen the faith of all our brothers and sisters. Be with them always and take care of all their problems. Comfort them, Lord, and restore their health whenever they fall ill. Heal them with Your power. Make all our beloved families believe in You also, so that their souls may be saved. Keep Your servants from temptation, comfort them, renew their strength, and protect them, so that they may never get weary and fall to abandon their faith. And whenever we face a trial, always give us a way to overcome it. In Jesus’ name we pray.”
We ought to pray like this because the Lord said, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). All of us should indeed be able to pray in a way that is pleasing to our Lord, and there is nothing we can’t do if we draw our strength from such prayers of faith. No matter how lacking we ourselves may be, because God listens to the prayers of the righteous, we can achieve everything through our prayers of faith. This is why we must pray to God. And all of us are able to pray to God, for we “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9).
No righteous person should ever be disappointed by anything. Instead, every righteous person should pray to God by faith. And all the righteous must know how to pray to God in deep meditation, engaging in a sincere, one-to-one conversation with God. Only then can they find God’s help, put on His power, and receive His blessings in their lives.
God listens to our prayer when we pray in secret. He answers our hearts’ desires. Jesus Christ is with us always. We are able to pray to God thanks to the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and we are God’s own blessed people. That is why those who can pray to God sincerely can live for the Lord’s righteousness. By believing in the righteousness of God, all of us can pray to Him and lead a righteous life.
All of us need to reach spiritual maturity. And with spiritual maturity, we ought to know how to pray to God properly with the right mind and the right heart, how to seek the righteousness of God and His Kingdom, how to pray for our brothers and sisters, how to pray for other souls, and how to pray for ourselves. The Bible says that if we do not know what we should pray for, the Hoy Spirit becomes our Interceder and prays to God the Father for us with groanings that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
It’s therefore very important for us to learn how to pray. Proper prayer is something that all of us must learn. As the righteous, we ought to know how to move God’s heart to help us in everything. Indeed, all of us must become such people of prayer who can make our requests known to God. So we must pray incessantly.
All the righteous have no choice but to pray whenever they face hardships. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons that we have. Just as the Word of God is our powerful weapon when we fight the Devil, faithful prayer is another powerful weapon when we struggle against our difficulties. Every problem is solved when we come to the presence of God and pray to Him by faith. It’s when the righteous pray that God helps them. The people of God and His servants who know how to entrust their problems to God never fail. Even if they stumble, they get back on their feet as God restores and holds them steadfast.
My fellow believers, for you to pray to God properly, you must first deal with your sins by placing your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you believe in this true gospel, which is the Word of God, your heart will become sinless without fail. After this, you should then seek the righteousness of God and pray for it with a pure heart.
Do you now understand how you should pray? Can you now pray properly? All of us are a royal priesthood that can pray to God by faith.
From today’s Scripture passage, we have learned how we ought to pray. Are there any obstacles preventing you from praying to God? If you have sin, this is the first obstacle that must be removed. How can you then remove this obstacle of sin? By placing your faith in the Word of God, you must first admit to Him that you have committed sin. And you must recognize by faith that all your sins were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized, and that He was fully condemned for all your sins on the Cross. You must also believe that He has brought you back to life by rising from the dead again. The problem of your sins will then be solved. You can then pray to God, but you should not just pray for your own desires and greed. Rather, you should pray for the Kingdom of God first. You will then be able to pray to God sincerely and properly.
For what should we pray constantly? We should pray for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. What is God’s righteousness then? It is none other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Have you solved the problem of your sins away by placing your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? If you have, then thanks to this faith of yours in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, you have become sinless. That’s why you should always ruminate on the Truth that Jesus already bore all your sins by being baptized.
Today, some servants of God are traveling to a remote country to preach the gospel. It’s then more than fitting for us to end today’s sermon by joining our hands in prayer. So let us all pray to God: “Father, Your servants are going to a distant land and a foreign people to preach Your gospel. We ask You to watch over them and keep them healthy, so that they may all return to us safely. Let the gospel be proclaimed and do its wonderful works through these servants. Lord, some of our own family members still have not been saved. We pray for them also, that their souls may be saved. We ask You to protect all our brothers and sisters as well. Keep them from temptation, and show them the way whenever they face trials in this world. Fill them with the Holy Spirit. Make them the people of faith. Give them Your power, and bless them all. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”