A life of prayer is irrefutable proof of God-dependency… Prayer is the only form of communication with God available to the believer. It is crucial, therefore, that we understand how God wills for us to speak with Him. R. L. Dabney (1820–1898) defined prayer as “an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies.” Since our hearts are utterly depraved and able to corrupt even our most sincere intentions (Jer. 17:9), the only means by which we may hope to ask God “for things agreeable to His will” is by learning to pray according to the revelation of His will contained in His written Word. Anything else presumes on God. Dabney concurs:
The proper rule of prayer is the whole Word of God. Not only are its instances of inspired devotion our exemplars, and its promises our warrant; its precepts are the measure of our petitions, and its threatenings the stimulants. There is no part of Scripture which may not minister to the guidance of the Christian’s prayers. But further, the Word of God is the rule of our prayers also in this sense, that all which it does not authorize, is excluded. Prayer being a homage to God, it is for Him to say what worship He will accept; all else is not homage, but presumption.
Scripture has more to say about prayer than we can ever hope to master in one lifetime. Hence, a desire to continually be taught how to pray is a mark of growth toward spiritual maturity. The more a believer grows in Christ, the less he or she is governed by a spirit of independence and the more his or her life becomes marked by habitual God-dependency. [from Teach Them to Pray]
In the Foreword to Teach Them to Pray, Jerry Bridges writes: “[There] is something sacred about the corporate prayer of believers. This emphasis makes this book a valuable contribution to our theology and practice of prayer. Paul Tautges not only encourages us to pray corporately, but he also instructs us to pray biblically. [Much] of the corporate prayer we do engage in is basically centered on our own health and financial needs. By contrast, Paul Tautges directs us to the prayers of the Bible, which are basically God-centered.”