What is the proper way to pray?

Is it best to pray standing up, sitting down, kneeling, or bowing down? Should  our hands be open, closed, or lifted up to God? Do our eyes need to be closed  when we pray? Is it better to pray in a church building or out in nature? Should  we pray in the morning when we get up or at night before we go to bed? Are there  certain words we need to say in our prayers? How do we begin our prayers? What  is the proper way to close a prayer? These questions, and others, are common  questions asked about prayer. What is the proper way to pray? Do any of the  above things even matter?

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic  formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray  in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is  completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray,  where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our  prayers. We are told in 1 John  5:14-15 to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing He hears  us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly, John 14:13-14 declares,  “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to  the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” According  to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether  they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to  Jesus).

So, what is the proper way to pray? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious,  to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all  such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is  to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already  knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God,  keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is  not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God  in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more  interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s  Prayer in Matthew  6:9-13. Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to  memorize and recite to God. It is an example of the things that should go into a  prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to  pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and  “customizing” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to  express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed;  eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at  night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and  appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection  between Himself and us.

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