This month on Sunday nights our study on the Sermon on the Mount  will include instructions by our Lord on prayer, including the Lord’s Prayer.  The Lord contrasts a hypocritical praying with a true spiritual praying His redeemed people are to practice.  Here are some guidelines as to what a spiritual prayer consists of.

  1. It is made in the name of Christ.  Unless we pray in Christ’s name, we don’t pray at all.  This doesn’t simply mean repeating his name with our lips, but in our hearts we come to God in hope and confidence because of what Christ has accomplished in His priesthood for us. 

  2. A spiritual prayer will come from a knowledgeable, thoughtful heart.  It doesn’t simply repeat pious phrases. Rather it prays with understanding, reverence, and affection. We must know of the truth, majesty, and holiness of God to pray spiritually. 

  3. A spiritual prayer is a fervent prayer.  When we recognize the sinfulness of our own heart, the fallenness of this world, and the little concern for God’s glory or kingdom in our land, it should stir us to pray sincerely and fervently.  Private, fervent prayers by God’s people are commonly the means God uses to bring change in hearts or strength to his people in their hour of need.

  4. A spiritual prayer is a believing prayer.  Our prayers should be in certainty that God exists and is listening to our prayers and petitions.  What is said of the people of Israel may be applied to our prayers if they are not in faith – “They could not enter in because of unbelief.” 

  5. A spiritual prayer has spiritual goals.  A desire for God’s glory and submission to God’s sovereignty is necessary to be truly praying.  The goals of hypocrites are always carnal, goals that will reinforce ego.  A redeemed person is especially concerned with desiring grace, faith, love, perseverance, and other graces that promote living by the Spirit.  Petitions for temporal necessities or concerns are lifted up to a sovereign father who knows and cares, and will sovereignly work out all for your good.