Jehovah God is the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) We can speak to him anywhere and at any time, aloud or silently. Jehovah wants us to address him as “Father,” and he really is the best Father we can have. (Matthew 6:9) Lovingly, Jehovah teaches us how to pray and be heard by him.
PRAY TO JEHOVAH GOD IN THE NAME OF JESUS
“If you ask the Father for anything, he will give it to you in my name.”—John 16:23.
Jesus’ words clearly show that Jehovah wants us to pray to him, not through images, saints, angels, or departed ancestors, but in the name of Jesus Christ. When we pray to God in Jesus’ name, we show that we recognize the vital role of Jesus. “No one comes to the Father except through me,” said Jesus.—John 14:6.
SPEAK FROM THE HEART
“Pour out your hearts before him.”—Psalm 62:8.
When we pray to Jehovah, we should speak as we would to a loving father. Instead of reading out of a book or reciting something memorized, we should speak to him respectfully and from the heart.
PRAY IN HARMONY WITH GOD’S WILL
“No matter what we ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 John 5:14.
In the Bible, Jehovah God tells us what he will do for us and what he wants us to do for him. For our prayers to be acceptable to God, we need to pray “according to his will.” To do so, we need to study the Bible so that we can get to know him well. If we do, our prayers will be pleasing to him.
WHAT MIGHT WE PRAY FOR?
Pray for Your Needs. We can pray to God for our daily needs—food, clothing, and shelter. We might also pray for wisdom to make right decisions and for strength to endure our trials. We can pray for faith, for forgiveness, and for God’s help.—Luke 11:3, 4, 13; James 1:5, 17.
Pray for Others. Caring parents are pleased when their children love one another. Jehovah too desires that his children on earth care about one another. It is appropriate to pray for our mate, our children, our family, and our friends. “Pray for one another,” wrote the disciple James.—James 5:16.
Express Thanks. Of our Creator, the Bible says: “He did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.” (Acts 14:17) When we think about all that God has done for us, we will be moved to express our thanks to him in prayer. Of course, we should also show our gratitude to God by the way we live.—Colossians 3:15.
BE PATIENT AND KEEP PRAYING
At times, we may feel disheartened because of not getting an immediate answer to our sincere prayers. Should we conclude that God is not interested in us? By no means! Consider the following experiences that emphasize that we may simply need to keep praying.
Steve, mentioned in the opening article, admits, “Had it not been for prayer, I would have given up on life years ago.” What led to the change? He started to study the Bible and learned about the need to pray and to persist in it. “I pray to God to thank him for all the loving support I have received from my dear friends,” says Steve. “I am happier now than I’ve ever been.”
What about Jenny, who felt that she was not worthy of being heard by God? She says, “At my lowest point, I begged God to help me understand why I felt so worthless.” How did that help her? “Talking to God has helped me put things into perspective, to see that even if my heart condemns me, he does not. It has also helped me not to give up but to keep trying.” The result? “Prayer has helped me to see Jehovah as a real, loving, caring God, Father, and Friend, who will always be there for me and help me as long as I keep trying to do what he wants.”
Consider, too, the experience of Isabel. When she became pregnant, her doctors told her that her child would be born severely handicapped. She was devastated. Some even advised her to end the pregnancy. “I felt as if I were going to die from all the anguish in my heart.” What did she do? “I prayed and prayed to God for support,” she says. In time, she gave birth to a son, Gerard, and he was handicapped. Does Isabel feel that God answered her prayers? Yes, she does! In what way? “As I see my son, who is now 14 years old, enjoying life despite his disability,” says Isabel, “I realize that he is the best answer to my prayers, the greatest blessing Jehovah God has given me.”
Such heartfelt expressions make us think of the words of the psalmist: “You will hear the request of the meek, O Jehovah. You will make their hearts firm and pay close attention to them.” (Psalm 10:17) What wonderful reasons for persevering in prayer!
The Bible records many of Jesus’ prayers. The best known is surely the one he taught his disciples. What can we learn from it?