Unveiling the Secrets of Prayer: How to Pray Like Jesus and Experience a Personal, Powerful Connection with the Lord

We all know the Lord’s Prayer. You probably do not need to open the book of Matthew to read the prayer, but do you know the words before and after the “Our Father who art in Heaven…” I wonder if we can dive into some of those verses as we think about how we pray.

When you pray, go away by yourself.

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.

Matthew 6:6a, NLT

Jesus reminds his listeners, which includes us today, that prayer is personal. While there are times to pray in public, our relationship with the Lord is personal. Our conversation with Him is personal. When was the last time you got away and talked to Him?

When you pray, don’t babble.

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

Matthew 6:7-8, NLT

The Lord is not judging our prayers by their length. He is not judging our prayers by our Christian jargon. He is not judging our prayers at all. He just wants us to pray the things, talk about the things that we are thinking about. What is on our hearts? He already knows anyway, but when we pray, we allow ourselves to connect with our Savior. We allow our words to linger. We allow the Lord to work in our hearts.

When you pray, forgive.

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15, NLT

Read Matthew 6:14-15. The last part of those verses is a bit scary. When was the last time you lingered in a prayer of forgiveness? Maybe that forgiveness was toward another person, but maybe that forgiveness was for you. 

I had a situation a couple of months ago, where I realized I had messed up. The Lord had been very clear that I should not do something. But I did it anyway. I wallowed in that for a bit. I knew what I did was wrong. I was disobedient. I was defiant. I was convinced that I knew better. Of course, the Lord brought me to my knees in that situation. 

I did confess where I had gone wrong. But forgiving myself did not come so quickly. I hurt others. I defied my Lord. How could I forgive myself?

Do you ever do that? Sit in the muck. Sit in the wallow. Why do we do that?

For me, I find that I forget my identity when I struggle to forgive myself. I also find that I forget the work on the cross.

Who am I to say that Jesus’ bloody work was not enough for my mess up?

And so, with a giant inhale, I start to pray. 

First, I confess. The Lord already knows what I did, but when I spell it out, I get a chance to understand the significance and weight of my sin. In this case, I confessed that I failed to trust the Lord. I took matters into my own hands, and I moved forward in my own power instead of relying on the Holy Spirit.

Second, I look to the cross. I grieve how my mess up put my sweet Savior there. 

Third, I hear Jesus tell the Father, “Father, forgive her. She doesn’t know what she is doing.”

Finally, I exhale. Jesus is in my corner. He is on my side. By the power of His Holy Spirit, I can rest in His work. I can rest in His forgiveness. 

I can forgive myself.

What about you? When you pray, do you find those precious intimate moments with the Lord? Do you pray from the heart, avoiding jargony babble? Do you pray for forgiveness? 

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2 responses to “Unveiling the Secrets of Prayer: How to Pray Like Jesus and Experience a Personal, Powerful Connection with the Lord”

  1. Debs Avatar

    Love this post! This reminds me of a situation a few years ago. I was working with someone that, for reasons I can’t even explain, we did not get along or work well together. It was bad enough I considered changing jobs. A friend told me to pray for her everyday for one week. I started out babbling, repeating the same sentence asking God to bless her and to help me not hate her. However, something changed during the week. I think God opened my eyes and I started noticing things about her struggles, and my prayers changed. It became more of a conversation with God about what this person was going through and how I wanted only the best for her. It absolutely worked. By the end of the week I felt only care for her and we actually became friends. I also realized I needed to ask for forgiveness for me. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was part of the problem. Today, I still have one person in my life that I am struggling to forgive. The hurt seems too large for me to overcome. Your post reminded me, I need to have a conversation with God.

    1. Tyra Harnishfeger Avatar

      I love this! It’s amazing how often we can start praying for something…but that “something” ends up being a change in our own hearts.

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