Question 39: With what attitude should we pray?

QUESTION:  With what attitude should we pray?

ANSWER: With love, perseverance, and gratefulness; in humble submission to God’s will, knowing that, for the sake of Christ, he always hears our prayers.
Our attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something or someone which flows out into our behavior. It’s a settled way of thinking, not a temporary emotion. Our attitudes are built upon our accumulated experiences, which, in turn, affect our expectations. How would you describe your attitudes about your work, your relationships, and church? How do these attitudes inform your expectations for the future?

Our attitude about God informs our attitudes towards prayer. What we believe about God’s character and our experiences inform what we believe we can expect in our prayer life. The key question we must ask ourselves in relation to prayer is, what is our father in heaven like?
  • In prayer, God responds in his sovereign will to our requests.
  • God will never give us something that is bad for us or trick us.
  • All good gifts we receive from God flow out from the ultimate sacrificial gift of his son, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
  • What negative attitudes do you sometimes have towards prayer? Why can prayer be hard?
  • Which things do you know about God in your head which you struggle to believe in your heart?
  • How does prayer feel when you don’t believe in your heart things you know (in your head) are true of God?

  • Although God knows all things, he chooses to work through our requests to achieve his good purposes. How does knowing God wants you to ask for things make you feel about prayer and your relationship with God?
  • God will never give us anything that is bad for us, in fact, he is working everything together for good. How might believing God is good in our hearts transform how we see God working things out differently than we’d like?
  • God displayed his most generous gift to humanity in his son’s sacrificial death, in our place for our sins on the cross, offering redemption and reconciliation with God. All God’s gifts flow from the greatest gift. How does this make you feel about God? How does this then change our attitude towards prayer?

  • Pray together for specific friends who need to hear the gospel and receive God’s most generous gift of his son. If the opportunity arises, try using this language of a gift to explain Jesus’ sacrificial death which brings life to those who put their faith in him.
  • In your private prayer time, try spending an extended time affirming God’s goodness before making requests. Thank him for who he is and maybe name some good gifts you have received from him recently, from the small gifts to the larger gifts.

Father God, we thank you that you are perfect in every way. You know all things and you are perfect and pure in your goodness. Please grow us in thankfulness for who you are, the gift of your son, and all the good things that you have given us. Help us to love to come to you in prayer because of who you are. Amen.