How do Christians pray?
Even Isa’s disciples did not know how to pray! We read in the Injil that they asked him to teach them:
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John [Yahya ibn Zakaria] taught his disciples.’
He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”’ (Luke, 11:1-4)
First of all, Isa wanted his followers to understand that God was like a father to them. They could pray to him at any time, just as a child can come to his or her father at any time. The father is always glad to see them and will help them.
The child expresses himself in his own language to the father and the father understands. The child does not have to use set words or phrases. He can tell his father what is on his heart and share with him his deepest concerns. He does not have to wash in a special way before he prays, although he will strive to be clean and neat, because he knows this pleases his father. The father is glad when his child prays to him simply, in his own way.
What do Christians ask for in prayer?
Isa wanted his followers to know what they should ask for in prayer. First, they must pray that God will be honoured, that people all over the world will respect him, worship him and obey Him. This is the top priority. But then they may also ask for their own daily needs – the food they need to eat and their other physical needs as well.
All people commit sin and do wrong, so all need God’s forgiveness. Isa told his followers to ask God to forgive them, but he also said that they must forgive those who had done wrong to them. He warned them that if they refused to forgive others, God would not forgive them.
Finally, Isa knew that his followers would face many difficulties and trials. They must depend on God and not on their own strength.
Do Christians meet together for prayer?
Yes! But we do not have set times for this. Each group of Christian believers can meet together on a day and at a time convenient for them.
Isa’s first followers used to meet very frequently, even daily. After Isa’s resurrection, many people believed in him. In the book of Acts, Luke tells us how they lived:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread [a special meal to remember Isa] and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. (Acts 2:42-47)
Not all Christians are able to meet together every day. Even Isa’s first followers were not able to continue in this way, because of persecution.
However, Christians try to meet for prayer and the study of the Bible together at least once a week and, if possible, on Sunday. The first followers of Isa gave Sunday a special place in the week, because it was the day on which Isa rose from the dead. But, if it is not possible to meet on Sunday for work or other reasons, Christians are free to choose another day.
The first step for each person to take is to pray to God for themselves. Here is a simple prayer you can use to begin:
O God, I want to know you. Please forgive me for the wrong things I have done and reveal yourself to me. Open my mind and heart to understand and guide me in the way of truth.
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