At its simplest, prayer is a conversation between God and ‘another’. Prayer isn’t a new phenomenon but rather it has been a practice, a desperate plea, a longing, an expression, a love discussion since the beginning of time. In Biblical view, the first prayer ever to take place was between God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit in the creation of man (Genesis 1:26).
Have you ever thought, you are the result of a prayer?
From God walking the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, through the events of the Exodus, the establishing of nations, the life of Jesus the man, the birth and outworking of the early church through change until present day – and to continue forever in the future – talking with God is prayer. That is what prayer is!
We pray because by original design we were created with the privilege and the aim to talk with our Father God, and in that, talk about anything. That is the most brilliant part! Jesus revealed that when we pray we do so with God who is Father (Matthew 6:9), not only as ‘the’ Father God – the only one – but as ‘Our Father God’. He is ours and we are included. The word our is an inclusive word which often goes amiss when reciting words. By implication we get to personally speak with God as we approach him as Father.
When we talk with God we do so praying; for provision (Matt.7:7), wisdom (Jam.1:5), insight (Eph.1:17); telling of our situation (Phil.4:6), sharing our fears (Ps. 94:19), thanking with joyful celebration (Col.4:2) and even expectancy (1 Jo.5:14) – imagine that? Whenever we pray, we do so with the knowledge that we get to do so because of Jesus Completed Work successful and achieved under the graciousness of the Father.
The Matthew reference above is the opening line to a prayer Jesus taught his followers to say when they enquired him in how to do so. It should be with purposeful aim for oneself and for others. There is something of a liturgical method exemplified here but there are also prayers of celebration, mourning, desperation, spontaneous and request exemplary throughout the scriptures. In some instances of severe difficulty to express vocally, we are comforted to know that the Spirit of God speaks on our behalf (Romans 8:26).
There is a vast array of examples, models and expressions of prayer in scripture from which we can learn, draw hope from and be affirmed by. It is a two way conversation. There are sometimes pauses. Other times there is an endless flow of speaking. As well as speaking audibly, or from within, the key to hear what Our Father has to say is imperative!
James 5:16 ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’