What do I mean by prayer…and how do I pray?
Is there a right or wrong way of praying, as some others have led me to believe?
We are told that “prayer is the breath of the Christian and of the Church.”
So why is there, so often, a real reluctance to meet together to pray?
For some years I did attend regularly the weekly church prayer meeting…but I experienced a real concern as to how I prayed aloud. I knew I didn’t pray using ornate phraseology or grandiose words like some of the others who were more articulate…it made me feel uncomfortable because it didn’t come naturally to me. I just talked softly to God as I always had done. Of course it should not have mattered how others viewed this because it was to God I was talking, praying…and they should have been concentrating on their own prayer and not mine…but somehow it did, especially when some “super devout” soul tried to correct me. My pastors at the time didn’t seem to think I had a problem and however much they tried to encourage me…being afraid or unsure, I didn’t really listen.
Nowadays churches seem to rely on their various “House Groups” to pray together…often in the form of petition or intercession…which is good…but is that all there is to prayer?
We can be apt to pray when we have a desperate need or want…but are already working out how this ‘God person’ should fill that need or provide for the want…so pray with no real belief or substance. I could easily fall into this, and maybe feel disappointed or let down when things don’t turn out the way I think they should. So why pray in the first place? I can, however, honestly say that, throughout my quite long life, God has never disappointed me or let me down…He is God of the impossible and He is a Faithful God!
Yes, God heals…He answers prayers…so why, do I ask myself…does one person live and another dies…but even so I can never try to put the blame on God.
Others may tell me it is because of the way I pray, and that is why I don’t get all the answers I would like…but even this I dismiss, because I know that my God does not just listen to the words…He reads the mind and the heart. I do believe God’s promises…because I know He cannot lie…I also know that I can never bend Him to my will by my prayer…for in this I become too centred on myself, and my thoughts are not wholly God centred!
I believe and know that the sun will rise every morning but sometimes fog or heavy storm clouds prevent me from seeing it…but that does not mean that He is is not there…or that my knowledge or belief is wrong. By faith I know the sun rises daily…even though I may not fully understand it. And in the same way if I could understand the mind of God He would cease to be God! “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
The Almighty Creator God loves me…and has loved me before I actually came into being…He will never be careless with His love for…and His care of me. And this means that my prayer should be one of love, adoration, praise and thankfulness to Him, in each and every situation. I may not understand the workings of His mind but that doesn’t mean He isn’t there, or that He isn’t listening to me. He is, indeed, the centre of my universe even in the darkest of days.
The way I pray is one of intimate conversation with the God I worship, honour and love. It is a very personal and loving relationship…and as such it is a coming together…a two way communication. And if I am still before Him, I will hear Him speaking to me …and I will trust Him with all that I am and have.
So prayer for me is recognising who He really is…sitting quietly with Him…talking together of my anxieties…my confusion…my hurts…my hopes…my joys…and my deep undying love for Him.
He is concerned for me…and although nothing is hidden from Him…and he reads my heart and mind…He still desires…longs for me to come apart, to be with Him…and in love and humility, just to talk with Him.
I may feel confused at times, and unable to find the right words to convey all I feel…but if he is truly at the centre of my life, my universe…I will know in my heart that He is never beyond or out of my reach. He is ever ready to be with me and ever ready to help me walk in obedience to His perfect plan and will for my life.
He has all-seeing eyes, and all-listening ears; so my prayer is not just in times of need and trouble…but of praise, honour, love…and to enable me to live my life, giving Him all the glory He is worthy of.
And so, for me, this prayer has become a whole new way of life…a never-ending conversation of faith, trust and love, in obedience to the One who so willing gave up His life for me, to save me from my sin and shame, and to redeem me for Himself…my Glorious, Risen Lord and Saviour.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16, 17)