What is Prayer?


You may have wondered what ‘prayer’ is really all about, and how is it that one ‘prays’. The question may also arise, ‘Who do I pray to’

In this series, I shall be talking about praying to the God of the Bible. 

In effect prayer is no more than speaking to God

The Bible[1]tells us that prayer is nothing more than speaking to God.  The promise is that if we ask, we’ll get what we ask for; if we search for something, particularly when we don’t know what we are looking for, we’ll find what we are looking for in God; if we just want to be in God’s presence – He’ll allow us to be.

Am I able to pray as well?

Maybe you’ve heard others praying and begin to wonder why you can’t pray in the same way.  Often you wonder if you will ever be able to pray like them.  The good news is that you will be able to pray like them.  The good news is that you will be able to pray like Jesus, and for that matter…even better than Him!! “Is this possible?” you exclaim, shocked.  Yes it is, Jesus said so[2]

The Holy Spirit

Here are two important things to know about prayer:

Firstly, we pray to God via our human spirit. The human spirit is a channel, much like an internet connection. This connection needs a service provider and in the case of prayer to God, this provider is the third person of God’s three part union, The Holy Spirit. He becomes ‘the service provider.’

The second is that, if we haven’t already asked God to enter into our lives, we can do so by saying to Him, “Please come into my life”. Simple as that. Once you have said those words – you are connected!

Connection means that your service provider now, not only connects you to God, but He sets up office inside you as well. He does this so He can manage God’s affairs in your life.[3]

As part of his management job The Holy Spirit, goes into our mind and uses the basic stuff that we have stored away in our minds, plus what we add to our minds each day. In other words, He will take what we have in our minds, filter it then use it to help us to speak to God.

In a spiritual sense, we are like little children; we learn to speak as we listen to our parents and other people.  Little children listen and then basically begin to mimic what they hear. All the things they hear their parents, grandparents, teachers etc. are stored in their minds and this helps them to mimic as a means of communication.

So begins the wonderful world of prayer, or put more simply – talking to God.

Filling our minds with stuff that helps us pray

Little children will go to school where they will be taught to, among other things, read. They will learn words and see pictures that show different aspects of the world they live in.

It is true that, we can simply use what stuff we have in our minds to help us to speak to God, but the likely result will be that all we can tell God is about our problems, needs, wants and so forth.

It’s unlikely that we can tell God how much we love Him, how great a person we think He is, the reason being – we don’t know Him!

So how do we get to know Him?

Like our human relationships, we get to know people by spending time with them. Learning about who they are, what sort of career that they have, just to name a few things.

Lay your hands on a Bible; to start with, anyone version will do and begin reading. Read a few Old Testament and New Testament chapters each day. Just read, don’t try to understand. If you follow this course, God will teach you to understand what you are reading.

More than this, you will come to know something about the person and nature of God.

Must I speak out aloud when talking to God?

 You don’t have to speak out aloud to God when praying to Him. But for me personally, I find it helps. There is something encouraging, when I say things out aloud, it’s like I am speaking to myself – by the way, as a child I did this all day! My recommendation would be to speak to God out aloud. Either way, God always hears you.[4]

Pray all through the day

Prayer, like salvation, is given to us because God loves us.  In addition to this He gives us the FAITH (belief) to pray.  All it requires from us is the first MOVE!  Just like the example of the little children learning to talk…they practice all day long…we need to exercise our praying – ALL DAY LONG.

Speaking to God must become a way of living for each one us and we are able to do this by talking to Him throughout the day.

I find that I speak to God throughout the day in two main ways:

One, I tell Him how wonderful He really is; how loving, good and kind He is to me. Just like husbands and wives, parents and children tell one another – no different.

Two, I almost continuously tell God how grateful I am for everything He does for me, gives to me. I find this the easiest of prayers, because I have trained myself to feel grateful for everything that is happening to me every moment of my day, until last thing at night before I fall asleep.

Most of all, I take nothing for granted.

Prayer is discovering

Let us consider the situation of speaking to our friends on the one hand and total strangers on the other:-

To our friends we either enquire about what is currently happening in their lives, or we ask about their future plans, or we ask about mutual friends.  With total strangers on the other hand, we use a different approach.  We usually ask questions, trying to find out all about them and their interests.  From that point we strike up conversation on common interests.

What about the case of those who emotionally, ‘fall in love’?  They spend hours and hours trying to discover all the intimate details concerning each other.  Not only this but they say how they love and admire each other.

Now, if you examine the above statements you can extract the following: With those that know, we try to find out more about what is presently happening in their lives.  Those that we don’t know, we try to get to know.  Where we have emotional feelings for a person we try to discover more intimate knowledge of them and desire to voice our feelings for them.

Ever notice how many questions children ask?  They are trying to get know about their parents and those around them.

We get to know God through Prayer

Prayer is the way God enables us to get to know Him.  In order that we can come to find out what He wants to do in our lives.  It’s the way we tell Him how much we love and admire Him, the way we ask Him both for things that we need and want.

Praying alone and also with others.

There are two principle ways of praying: Alone and with other people.  Praying with others is referred to, in some circles, as ‘corporate praying’.

Praying alone is intimate; mostly, unless the group are secure with one another, corporate praying is not intimate.

Effective corporate praying requires maturity. The ability to hear God’s voice in the words that others are saying and then to follow God’s will for the prayer time.

Once we become accustomed to praying with others, it is usually easier than praying on our own.

However, we will find that in the first instance, we need to exercise praying alone before we will be able to pray with others.  In order to be a good support to those we pray with corporately, we need to pray regularly and frequently on our own. We need to also discipline ourselves in our Bible readings.

Pray as if you were a child, seated on your Mother or Father’s lap.

In this series of teachings I will discuss the many types of prayer and their purposes.  For now we need to know that most of us have been taught to pray asking God for things, or appealing to God to help when we are in trouble.

As time goes by and we ‘grow up’ spiritually, it will be seen that the purpose of prayer is ‘waiting’ on God. The best comparison that can be offered to describe this position is the case of young children, who are at the age where they love to be in the company of their parents with no other purpose than to be with them.  You will have noticed that it is at those times that the children are most willing to do anything that their parents ask of them, because they only want to please.  When you pray just for the sake of pleasing God, then you are doing that which God desires most of you.

Copywrite Sirpeterjames.com 2017

[1] Matthew 7:7-8

[2] (John 14:12).

[3] Teachings on The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of The Holy Spirit.

[4] Jer.29:12

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