I know there have been many, many books written on prayer, but I'd much rather go directly to God's Word when studying and reading on prayer.
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Our Lord gives us the perfect example of how to pray. Just think about it, Jesus Himself teaches us how to pray! Not only that, but He prayed for us in the garden before His death.
John 17 King James Version
17 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Verse 20.... My Lord prayed for me! How wonderful a thought, to know that He didn't only die in my place to take away my sins, but He prayed for me before He died on the Cross!
I thought I'd share some of the important prayers in my life. I guess the best place to start would actually be before I was born, haha. Like many others, my mom prayed for me before I was born. Obviously, I don't know exactly what she prayed (Did she pray for my curly hair? Did she pray I'd have blue eyes?) but I know she prayed for me, just like she prayed for each of my siblings.
The next prayer in my life would probably be my mother's prayers that I would trust Jesus Christ as my Saviour and ask Him to save me. I think there's something special about parents who start praying before they have children that they'll ask the Lord to save them. The fact that a parent loves their child enough to start praying before they're even born that they'll get saved shows a love few can understand.
Big prayer: When I trusted Christ as my Saviour! I don't remember the exact words I said, or even the exact date. I was a little girl when I understood my need to ask Jesus to save me. This is without argument the most important prayer in my life. This is the most important prayer ANYONE can pray, that the Lord will forgive their sins and save them from an eternity in a real place called Hell! If you haven't asked the Lord to save you, please do not wait any longer. He died for you and offers the free gift of eternal life to whosoever will ask!
Fast forward a few years- quite a few years. Now I have more an a few siblings and I am praying for their salvation. So far, all but one of my siblings has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour (The youngest is still too young to understand). I'm so thankful the Lord has answered this prayer!
I've been praying for a long time (almost ten years) for my future husband. At times the prayer was "Lord, can you let us meet soon?" but lately it's changed. Now I would much rather pray "Lord, let him be growing in You and learning to be a godly husband and father." Praying for your future spouse is a wonderful thing to do.
And if you're one of the ones who feels like the Lord's will for your life is to find a spouse but rather serve Him as single, that's fine! The time you would have spent praying for your future spouse, use to pray for those around you who are seeking a husband or wife!
Praying for my future children is another of my prayers. Should the Lord ever give me and my husband children, I want to see them grow up, get saved and serve the Lord with all their being.
I pray for my friends. Yes, every single one. When a friend comes to me with a prayer request (or even if they don't) I want them to know that I am actually praying for them and not just repeating a phrase when I say they will. My friends take up a considerable amount of my prayer time, and I ask that God would draw them closer to Him than anyone or anything else in their life.
As anyone should, I pray for the lost around me. I don't ask God to bless them or give them what they are asking for, but I DO ask God to work on their heart and bring them to the place where they will ask Him to save them.
There have been times when I've had times when my prayers were of fear or worry. When my younger brother split his head open when he fell, when my mom was in the pains of labor, when my family was being verbally attacked... In those moments I was able to turn to my Heavenly Father with my concern, my panic and fear, and receive His peace and comfort. He brought us through each of those times, and used them to teach us (to teach Me!) to trust Him no matter what is going on around me.
I've had more than one time when my prayer was one of disappointment and pain. When something didn't go as planned, when I didn't receive the answer to a prayer I was expecting, when I have been hurt by circumstance or person... It's then that the Lord is my Friend who sticks closer than a brother. I can pour out my grief and anguish, all the tears and sorrow, and He listens. Isn't it wonderful to know that even if we don't have anyone else, we have Jesus to listen?
Of course, there have been many, many times when I've had to go to God asking forgiveness. I am human, I have a flesh nature that I must fight. There are times when I sin and have to ask the Father to forgive me. I go directly to Him and get the forgiveness and mercy I do not deserve! It's a relief to know that no matter how greatly I slip and fall, He waits to forgive me like the father forgave the prodigal son. Thank God for grace and mercy! And never be afraid to confess your sins to your Heavenly Father- you'll always find forgiveness and love when you come to Him. It's important we always ask God to forgive us to keep from letting sin get between Him and us.
I know there have been times when my prayers were selfish, or centered on the wrong thing. Not that what I was asking for wasn't necessarily a good thing, but it wasn't what I needed. I asked for things I did not need, or prayed for one thing to happen when I should have been asking for something different. I'm thankful the Lord sometimes answers my prayers with a loving but firm "No" instead of always giving me the request I asked of Him!
Prayer, our direct connection with our Heavenly Father, is a beautiful, precious thing. Don't underestimate what your prayers can do. You never know if the one you are praying for will come to know the Lord because of your earnest prayers, or if the blessings you repeatedly ask your Father for will be given to you today. As His child, God is always ready to hear you!
I hope that as we get ready to celebrate Easter tomorrow, everyone of you has prayed and asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Saviour and to forgive you of your sins. I pray that each of you, as His children, are blessed and that you remember the real reason for Easter is not new clothes, candy, rabbits or eggs but a cruel cross and a Sinless Lamb who died on it. Easter Blessings to you all!