What Is Prayer
Prayer is an alien concept to many. It is unthinkable to speak openly to someone you cannot see. A person who does not believe in anything or is unsure what to believe in will probably laugh nervously or look uncomfortable if you recommend prayer to them. The very thought of it will make them feel awkward, silly or confused.
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You probably reflect on your prayer life, whether you pray enough, if you are praying the right way, who you should be praying to, and such. Many new Christians see mature Christians praying publicly, quoting scriptures, and praying in tongues (praying in the Spirit). They become nervous and unsure about their prayer life, wondering what is the right way to pray.
So what is prayer, and how should we pray? Prayer, is how we communicate with God by speaking to Him, praising Him, and listening to Him when He speaks to us. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone without speaking, communicating or ignoring them when they tried to communicate with you? How did that work out for you? Undoubtedly, it caused problems and unhappiness leading to eventual breakdown and separation from that person. All parties are wounded and scarred from the experience and some are no longer able to trust again. That’s the usual pattern.
Communication is vastly underrated but so completely necessary. An unquestionable deal-breaker in relationships. It is the same in our relationship with God. We cannot have an effective relationship with Him if we do not communicate with Him, and we do this through prayer. Every Christian has direct access to God, which means we do not need a high priest to pray to God on our behalf or to ask God to forgive our sins, as was the case in Old Testament times.
This all changed when Jesus died for us, He made it possible for every person to go to God for themselves and to be in His presence. Jesus’ death removed the barrier and all the obstacles between God and us. No one is required to go to God on our behalf and we do not have to be perfect and sinless to go into His presence. Seeking the Lord in prayer with a repentant heart gives you access to enter the Holy of Holies, which is no longer a physical place but a spiritual one.
The Christian needs to make time to pray. We all make time for the things we consider to be important, regardless of the commitments we already have in our lives. If you’re a morning person, wake up before work and pray; if you are a night person, pray at the end of the day; if you are good at managing your day, then take time out during the day.
When you pray, you should pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. You must never pray to angels, saints, objects, anyone, or anything. Only God can answer your prayers, so praying to anyone else is a waste of your precious time. Keep it simple and take baby steps, the Lord knows what you are trying to say to Him. Speak from the heart. No rehearsals are needed. Don’t worry about Christian ‘jargon’ and trying to fashion your prayer according to how you see others pray. Closing your eyes, bowing your head, clasping your hands, and kneeling are all marks of humility and respect and can be done when you are in private. Many of these religious practices have evolved through the ages, but no scriptures request that Christians do these things when praying. Prayer is from the heart. It is the condition of the heart that the Lord will respond to, not regimental practices.
Make a start. You woke up this morning. Many went to bed last night and didn’t wake up so good morning and thanks would be a good start; ‘Good morning, Father, thank you for waking me this morning.’ You have a busy day ahead, or you are not sure what you will be doing for the day, so share that with Him, ‘Lord I have a difficult day ahead, please help me through it.’ Add anything else you want to discuss with the Lord when you wake up. This is simply fellowshipping with God, having a conversation with Him, acknowledging His presence and giving Him thanks.
Once you start, the Holy Spirit will work with you to continue in prayer and it will become easier and more natural. But who is the Holy Spirit? Remember He is one of the three Persons of the Godhead, who is always with you to help, teach and guide you.
Matthew Chapter 6
Acts Chapter 2
Next In The Series: What Is The Church