Five "W"s of Prayer


By Iggi Khomasurya

When asked to write about Prayer, I realized how little I knew about it. Research shed light on my understanding on the why, what, when, where, whom and how to pray; and I hope that by sharing these in this bulletin, you too can benefit from it.


Why do we pray? Intimacy between two persons develops through mutual self-revelation. If two friends do change their characters because of their deepening intimacies, so will we be changed by a deepening intimacy with GOD. Our intimate relationship with GOD was lost in the Garden of Eden; but Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross brought us back into a right relationship. “I pray because I believe in this GOD and my heart aches for Him – an ache, no humans or earthly things will ever satisfy. To satisfy this longing for GOD, the simplest answer is to pray. In prayer, I try to let GOD know who I am at all times, and ask that GOD reveal Himself to me. I am not ashamed to be “naked” before GOD. I tell GOD what is going on in my heart and wait for GOD’s response.” Fr. William Barry. “Prayer is dreadfully necessary because the evil spirit is so active among the sons and daughters of men. With divine assistance through prayer, we can resist the evil one, but alone and without prayer we shall be overcome.” Fr. John Hardon.

Whom do we pray to? All prayers are directed to our triune GOD -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that we can pray to one or all three, because all three are One. We also pray to the Saints for intercession on our original request to GOD.

When should we pray? We pray 24 X 7 to have greater intimacy with GOD and for constant protection – “… because your enemy the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

What do we pray? Prayer is not getting GOD to do our will, but rather we do GOD's will on earth. The goal in all prayers is to glorify the Name of the Lord. GOD answers prayers, based on the content of our heart not the quality of our words and if the petitions are in accordance with His will. “Call on Me in time of calamity; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Where to pray? “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

How to pray?
Our disposition before GOD is important - The Catholic Doors Ministry. The desirable qualities pleasing to GOD are: (1) Conversion of the heart. King David realized that the Lord liked “a broken spirit and contrite heart.” (Psalm 51:19) (2) Humility. A prayer said in humility is worth more than all boastful prayers. The Holy Spirit will help us if we humbly acknowledge “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” (Romans 8:26) (3) Simplicity of words. Expressed words coming from the heart with all honesty are the best (“naked” before GOD). “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do, for they hold that the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard.” (Matthew 6:7) (4) Spiritual needs. Prayer petition should not only be for earthly things but also for our spiritual needs. “For what does a man profit, if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26) (5) Perseverance. When we pray for our spiritual needs, we must present our petition without ceasing. Jesus prayed all night before selecting the 12 apostles. (Luke 6:12-13) (6) Fasting. Prayers with fasting have greater power. “Only prayer and fasting can drive out this kind of spirit.” (Matthew 17:21) (7) Sacrifices. Performing a sacrifice is another form of prayer pleasing in the eyes of God. (8) Sound faith. Our faith in GOD must be strong accompanied by action. “Be doers of the Word and not just hearers...” (James 1:22)

David Jeremiah cited five hindrances to effective prayer: (1) The presence of iniquity and unconfessed sins in our hearts; (2) Living with selfish, fleshly desires as it produces a hardness of heart toward others; (3) A spirit of unforgiveness toward others; (4) Unbelief and doubt; and (5) Discord in our home. Fortunately, all these prayer hindrances can be dealt with at once, by coming to GOD in prayer, characterized first by repentance.