Please welcome my guest, Janet McHenry, author of the new book “The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus.” Janet is a mighty “prayer walker!”
When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.
That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.
5 Prayer Tips Based on the Prayers and Prayer Life of Jesus
- Pray simple prayers – The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). We do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, He knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to Him is a prayerful act already.
- Pray with a clear conscience – Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
- Be persistent – In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
- Pray boldly – God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26).
- Pray with faith – When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, He said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle.
I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.
What prayer tips have you learned from the prayers of Jesus?
Other posts you might like:
- A Legacy Prayer from My Great-Great Grandmother
- 5 Reasons Real Prayer is Hard
- A Skeptic and a Prayer Warrior
Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalkand her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today(Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.
The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at all online bookstores.