What is prayer? Is it simply talking to God? Is it sitting in silence and waiting for God?
What is prayer? Is it simply talking to God? Is it sitting in silence and waiting for God to speak? Prayer is listening to AND talking to God. Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. Prayer is how we communicate and get to know God our Father. Prayer is a command, not just an option or something we occasionally do.
When we don’t pray, God doesn’t move. When we fall into prayerlessness, we say to God, I don’t need you. I can do this on my own. Every culture, race, creed, and religion prays. We all pray to something or someone. Some are more ritualistic about it, others a little loose.
Since we should pray, I had questions about how we should pray. LOTS of questions. Maybe you do too.
Some of us have prescribed methods, postures, and positions. Some just wing it. Some think that specific words must be included, while others say God knows what’s in your heart and doesn’t require all that. Some have decided that we must pray for at least an hour (by the way, that is NOT what Jesus said). Others say a drive-by quickie prayer is ok as long as you PRAY.
Jesus said WHEN you pray. It doesn’t matter if you stand, sit, lay, kneel, bend, or do all the above. It doesn’t matter if it’s early morning, noon, or late night.
Should we pray to God or Jesus? What should we pray for? What words should we use? When should we pray? Is prayer begging, or is it simply chatting? Does the fervor with which we pray matter?
Does it matter if we are loud, or can we pray quietly? Must we always pray with others, or does God hear us just fine if we are praying all by our lonesome?
What does it mean when we say the effectual, fervent prayer avails much? What does it mean when it says we can decree and declare a thing, and it shall be established in the earth, and a light shall shine around our feet? What does it mean when we say we ask according to His will? Does asking mean praying? What does it mean to ask amiss?
Is God obligated to answer EVERY prayer to my satisfaction? Why is it that He answers some requests that seem petty and appear to ignore others that are important?
At least, that’s how I felt. Have you ever felt that way?
Is speaking to the mountains in my life the same as prayer? Must I pray as others I see in church, on TV, and at conferences? Some people get highly emotional, while others seem to have a general conversation with a friend. I want to know how to pray. I want to pray effectively. I want to know that when I’m talking to God, He hears and will answer me.
I also want to know HOW to hear God. I want to discern His voice from the chatter in my head. When does He speak in the prayer process? Will I hear an audible voice? Is it something I will feel? Should I use the Bible as a guide when I’m praying? Must I pray Scripture verbatim?
Paul said we should pray without ceasing. Well, how do I do that AND not look like the kooky gray-haired lady?
I often hear people say, “the Spirit of the Lord is saying,” or “I hear God saying.” How do they, or you, know if it really is God?
One thing I know for sure is prayer is essential to living a victorious Christian life. Many men and women in the Bible seem to have been so good at it, especially David. No one was better than David. I mean, the man ALWAYS seemed to be praying about something. He did, after all, write many of the Psalms, which by the way, is an excellent place to start when learning how to pray.
SIDENOTE: Why did David have so many enemies? Just a thought. That’s how my brain works.
Elijah, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Jesus, the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others), and John the disciple all prayed with much success. If we don’t pray as they did (in style and manner), does it mean God won’t answer? Hmmm, something to think about for sure.
Whatever manner you choose to pray, know there are benefits to praying regularly, consistently, and sincerely. The Bible says that God watches over His word to perform it. Isaiah tells us that as rain and snow fall from heaven and never return, so too shall the Word of God never return to him void without accomplishing what it was sent to do and succeeding in the matter.
The bottom line is we are to pray. If all you have is five minutes, make them the best uninterrupted minutes of your day. If you can “tarry” for one hour, go for it. The Father is more concerned with the quality of your prayer time than He is with the quantity of time you devote to prayer. He wants to hear your heart. He wants you to know that He is a good, loving, and kind Father who is waiting for you to come and talk to Him. You will never be too early or too late. He will never be too busy. There’s nothing too big or small for Him to be concerned with.
To put it simply, prayer is simply talking to your Father about everything and anything in your heart. It’s listening for His response and guidance. It’s knowing that He cares for you. He knows the answer to any question you have. He has the solution to every problem. He says this:
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.