Prayer can be studied, but it’s not rocket science.
Prayer can be creative, but it’s not an art.
Prayer can be taught, but it’s not primarily intellectual.
Jesus gives some clear and concise guidelines in prayer which could be summarised as to pray with simplicity, sincerity, specifically, spiritually and scripturally.
Simplicity: When you pray, say Father.
We who have been born again into the family of God direct our spiritual communication to a Father. This Father is Yahweh the God of the Bible, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not to direct our prayer to any other gods and certainly not to any man or woman, living or dead. And to address an idol, statue or icon as if it had any power for good or harm is to open ourselves up to deception and delusion. It’s simple. When we pray, we pray to the Living God who alone is worthy to receive this act of worship.
And when we pray, we don’t need rhetorical excellence or poetic flourishes. We certainly don’t need to learn to speak in King James’ English or Charismatic clichés nor Calvinistic catch phrases.
Jesus advises simplicity. we just speak our heart to God . Men may be impressed with technically perfect and skilled articulation but God is not.
Sincerity is clearly related to simplicity. We are not to use many words and seek to impress men[even ourselves] This is probably why the LORD suggests praying in private, away from the eyes of men. This reduces the temptation to pray with men in view rather than the Almighty.
Praying specifically requires faith, builds faith and brings more glory to the one who alone deserves glory. We all at times pray ‘shotgun prayers’ which may or may not be answered in the affirmative. How can we know if ‘bless the world’ has been answered. Clear, concise, specific prayer reveals the answer clearly and concisely and according to Jesus causes our joy to be full.
To pray spiritually just means to be led by the Holy Spirit.He will always glorify Jesus, convict of sin and reveal the power that’s available to those who believe. He will also direct us to the word of God which is the next principle.
This does not mean that we have to give a doctrinal dissertation each time we pray. It simply means that God reveals His will, His priorities, His promises and His precepts in His written word and as we grow in our understanding of God and His ways we can pray more effectively and in more God pleasing ways.
You may well have other ideas that you think could[or should ] have been added to this simple list. Let me know if so.