Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
~ Philippians 4:6
Proper prayer has several requisites. The first is that we approach God with sincerity. Empty and insincere phrases are a mockery to Him. Such prayer, far from being an exercise of godly religion, is an offense against God.
The second is that we approach God with reverence. In prayer we must always remember to whom we are speaking. To address God in a cavalier, casual, or flippant manner, as we might speak with our earthly friends, is to treat Him with the contempt of familiarity. As people pay homage to a king by entering his presence with a posture of respect and obeisance, so we come before God in full recognition of His supreme majesty.
The third requisite, which follows from the previous ones, is that we approach God in humility. Not only must we remember who He is, but we must also remember who and what we are. We are His adopted children. We are also sinful creatures. He invites us to come boldly before Him, but never arrogantly.
God instructs us to be earnest and fervent in our requests. At the same time, we come in willful submission. To say “Your will be done” is not an indication of a lack of faith. The faith we bring to prayer must include a trust that God is able to hear our prayers and that He is disposed to answer them. Yet when God says no to our requests, this faith also trusts in His wisdom. God's wisdom and benevolence must always and everywhere be assumed by those who entreat Him with petitions.
We pray in the name of Jesus because we do thereby acknowledge His office as Mediator. As our High Priest, Christ is our intercessor even as the Holy Spirit is our helper in prayer.
A helpful tool in learning to pray is the acrostic A-C-T-S. Each letter in the acrostic indicates a vital element of prayer.A = Adoration
C = Confession
T = Thanksgiving
S = Supplication
By following this simple acrostic we are sure to include all of the proper elements of prayer.
Holy Spirit, teach me to pray, and pray through me. Amen.
~ from “Renewing Your Mind” by R. C. Sproul