What do you understand prayer to be? Unfortunately,prayer is often misunderstood as a vague mystical element that should be avoided until absolutely necessary. In other words,when you get into a tight spot,then turn to God .. a plea for help as a last resort. The shame of it all is that prayer should be the first resort,not the last.
Most of us pray at some time in our life. Perhaps in a moment of crisis – when sickness or tragedy threatens our well being,or at work when things are not going well. Maybe as a parent,you’ve prayed when one of the kids is sick or is facing a difficult time at school. Really,prayer can be about so many things .. and prayer can be done in so many ways. You don’t have to go to church to pray. I think what’s really important is this. While the Bible does teach us some basic principles
on prayer,the overwhelming message is not” how to pray”,but simply an encouragement to pray.
Jesus taught that the prayer God hears is the sincere and honest expression of our need,said to
I heard of an interesting book called “Short Prayers for Long Days” written by Greg Mitchell. I’m not sure if it’s still in print or not. Greg Mitchell wrote about 30 children’s books and teaching texts. The idea for this book came to him when he attended a spiritual retreat. He said” the prayers were – always in ‘God language’. So I decided to write one in ‘non God’ language. His first prayer went like this .. “Dear God,I come to pray that I pray well”. His book asks some pertinent questions of God about life and prayer. For example – “Do you answer prayers that ain’t done good?”. “Can I pray with my hands in my pockets and my shirt hanging out?” “Why does prayer come easy when there’s something else worse to do?” These are the type of questions that demand an answer,because we can sometimes get the impression that prayer is difficult .. that you have to be especially holy or worthy for God to hear our prayers. But not so. Read the Gospels and you’ll discover Jesus explained that prayer is a simple thing. It is not the length or the eloquence of our prayer that matters to God,nor whether we sit or kneel to pray. What matters is what is in the heart.
The most meaningful prayer is the one that communicates to God who we are and what our need is. It could be a desperate prayer or a laugh,a tear or a sigh. God hears and responds as we open ourselves up to Him. Really,prayer is grounded in the knowledge that God already knows us and our needs,even before we open our mouths to ask Him to help. He is present in our world,and is available to us 24 hours a day,seven days a week,not as a kind of magician to give us what we want,but as a Friend. This divine friend wants to share our life. He wants to develop a personal relationship with us that sustains and enriches our lives. If you’re not good at words,that doesn’t – matter. He loves you and understands you completely.
Someone has said that prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. It’s the one spiritual link we have with our Lord. Prayer has no boundaries,and cannot be walled in. It is the one sure way we can reach God.
Read Matthew 7: 7-11
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