""Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”"
The disciples still had much to learn when they were walking with Jesus. They noticed that Jesus was praying somewhere, and they wanted to learn how to pray. What a thing to ask their teacher! "Teacher, we wanna know how to pray. You know, we know that John's disciples were taught how to pray, and we would like to know how to pray as well."
Have you ever had a question to ask the teacher back in grade school, but you were hesitant to ask because you weren't sure if it was a dumb question to ask? Well, Jesus is known as our Wonderful Counselor, who taught his disciples in every way what the will of God for their lives looked like. Whenever they had questions on something, Jesus answered their questions. They were there to learn from The Master, and He was there to teach them what He Himself had already mastered. So He taught them to pray, and modeled for them how they should pray.
"So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”"
As we take a look at the modeled prayer Jesus instructed His disciples to say, it's shown that He demonstrated a format which can be arranged into the following acronym:
NOTE: The ACTS model of prayer is only an example of how you can pray that breaks down the most important things you should be praying about. It's a simple guide to walk you through how to pray to God, and I hope this helps if you are one who is a new believer in Christ.
It's most important to show respect and reverance where it's due, and that must come from the heart. Show God your love for Him in your prayer, whether it be in song or by reciting His promises. This part of prayer is to recognize God in all His glory, and that should be the first thing you do when you pray, and this is why it's the first thing listed in the acronym.
Confess your sins, because He is faithful and just and will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Confessing your sins and laying them at the foot of the cross is a crucial part of your prayer, as you are showing that, since you adore God, you are willing to be honest with where you went wrong or came short. It's important to do this, as it says in scripture that if you keep any sin a secret from God, He will not hear your prayers (Psalm 66:18). It's important that if you want God to hear you, then you must obey the will of God and confess your sins before Him so He can heal you and so you may have a healthy and wholesome relationship with Him. It's important to understand that God does not want you to walk around in the filth of sin, but to walk clean on the path before you.
Since you adore God and have confessed your sins, now you give thanks to God, whether it's His "indescribable gift" of salvation and grace toward you, or just the fact that He woke you up and are able to live another day for Him. It's important to show God that you are thankful since you are called to live a life worthy of the call of God.
After you show your adoration, confess your sins, and give thanks to God, it is after all that you can present your requests before God. Maybe you are struggling in a sin and you need strength to overcome. Maybe a loved one or a friend is suffering through something, and you want to pray on their behalf. Maybe you are concerned by the quick and overwhelming deterioration of the world and you wish to intercede on its behalf. Whatever it may be, you can bring these requests before God.
Your prayers can be as long as they want, as God desires relationship with you. Just be sure it isn't something you repeat over and over again, as God desires to hear your heart. God cannot do anything with a mindless, scripted, rehearsed prayer (Matthew 6:7). Don't be afraid to talk to Him as you would any other person, but be sure you remember who you're talking to and be respectful.