How To Pray — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

How To Pray — Morning Devotions

The ability to pray is one of the greatest things God has given us. There is so much more to prayer than meets the eye.

By Chris WittsSunday 28 Aug 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Did you know that prayer is a unique activity of the human race? As far back as we can discover, the simplest, most primitive human beings believed in a great power. Maybe they didn’t always call it God, but they did.

Vocal Prayer

Perhaps it was a being who lived up there in the heavens somewhere somehow. And this was something to whom they could speak. So people have prayed down through the ages. It’s almost, I think, an instinctive thing to do. Now, this morning, I just want to share in the fact that there are three basic forms of prayer. The first is vocal prayer, the prayer of the lips, if you like. It’s simply talking to God just as I’m talking to you today. And I think that this form of vocal prayer, is at the heart of Christian prayer. It’s talking to God about our needs, the things we want. Even the first disciples asked Jesus – will you teach us to pray?

And Jesus gave them a simple form of words to say out loud and we know them today. In fact, he told them, six things and every one of them is involved in asking. So we call that the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ or the ‘Our Father’. And that prayer, if you have a look at it in the Scriptures, highlights three things that God wanted them to ask him and three things that they would want to ask for themselves. So it’s an interesting prayer. It was a speaking prayer, if you like. It was asking. It was, as I said, a vocal prayer.

Meditative Prayer

And I think another form of prayer that’s really worthwhile is all about a meditation prayer or meditative prayer.

This is the prayer that forms pictures or ponders the meaning of life, reflects on God and thinks about him and his dealings with us. And so when we meditate in prayer, we’re really trying to understand the heart and mind of God. Uh, we don’t actually say anything out loud. Our lips are quiet, but our mind is very much active. So one of the good things you can do in meditation, prayer or meditative prayer is to take a passage from the Bible, perhaps use a few verses that paint a picture of Jesus, and you can almost visually sit there and think of Jesus and soak up his presence. If you like the Psalms, they are another great source of meditative prayer.

Prayer of Contemplation

The third area that I think we look at is the prayer we call ‘a contemplated prayer’. It’s the prayer of the heart and the will that reaches out to God’s presence, and the lips and the mind both come to rest. Meditation is us looking at God. Contemplation is God looking at us now. Sometimes it’s hard to think of these things, but do you know that God delights in the companionship of his people? At the time that Jesus was baptised, God spoke from heaven. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). So it’s a wonderful thing that God wants to look at us and say, This is my son or my daughter whom I love, and I’m very pleased with you.

So it’s thinking about God reaching out to God, perhaps not saying anything, but contemplating or thinking about it. The 16th century Christian mystic was Teresa of Avila, and she wrote a book entitled The Interior Castle. Very Old Book. She encouraged us to think of our soul as a castle that was formed of a single diamond or a transparent crystal that contained many rooms. At the centre is the principal chamber, she said, in which God and our soul hold the most secret and intimate conversations. Interesting concept, isn’t it?

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God can indeed be known in us. For example, in Acts 17:28 – “‘In him we live and move and have our being’”. So he dwells within our hearts. Sometimes we’re not aware of that. But God is there.

The disciples didn’t ask Jesus about techniques. All they said was, Lord teach us to pray and Jesus said, Yes, I will.

Let’s Pray

Well, Lord, we are constantly amazed that you’re with us. Lord, we know that we can thank you. We belong to your family and we really love you being present with us at all times. So I pray that you’ll help us to pray, help us to think about you and to meditate on you, Amen.