One of the greatest verses on prayer in the Bible is 1 John 3:22, which says "And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." This is a remarkable statement and totally in keeping with Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. 

But prayer is also one thing more. It is prayer to God the Father. It is through Jesus Christ. And it is also in the Holy Spirit. This is the third great principle of prayer. That is why Ephesians 2:18 says of the Jews and Gentiles, "For through him” (that is, through Jesus Christ), “we both may have access by one Spirit unto the Father." 

Have you learned that lesson? Or are you still like so many Christians who do not really know what it is to pray to God? I believe that the psychiatrists are entirely right when they say that much of our prayer is mere wish-fulfillment. For we often pray merely by reciting things that we would like to see happen to ourselves. Instead of this, Jesus taught that we are to pray only when we are conscious of being in God's presence and are truly communing with Him.

Actually, these verses are concerned with the tendency that all men have to pray to themselves and to other persons rather than to God. They teach that prayer must always be made to God, and that as a consequence it must be made in the knowledge that God is always more ready to answer than we are to pray to Him. Let me make this the first great principle of true prayer. True prayer is prayer that is offered to God, our heavenly Father. 

The second great example of godly living discussed by Jesus Christ in the second chapter of the Sermon on the Mount is prayer. It is an important subject, for prayer is at least partially confusing to us all.