Weekly Sabbath Survey
What Is Prayer? — 5-16-2015
There are many various ways to think of prayer, and I would venture, most of them are wrong. Think about it. What is prayer really? I’ll start with what it’s not.
Prayer is not an exercise in holiness. Like the more hours you pray the more righteous you will be. Holiness comes from having the indwelling Holy Spirit and listening to His voice in obedience. Sometimes, the more we talk (pray), the less we hear. Prayer is not a vehicle for saying impressive flowery words in King James English out loud in a group, so some people might wonder if I am a trained Shakespearian actor. Prayer is not something like meditating in the lotus position. It is not a relaxation technique. Prayer is not giving God unknown information. He already knows everything! So we shouldn’t waste time going over the details — just get to the point. Prayer is not “Now I lay me down to sleep” unless you are a child. It is not “Ruba-dub-dub, thanks for the grub” unless you are a smart aleck teenager who may need a little smack upside the head!
So what is it? Prayer is communication. Me talking to God and expecting Him to lead me through life. And, I was told by my teacher to listen for His voice. My teacher said,”When people talk to each other, they both say words. God will speak, and we try to listen.” With practice, I have learned to fairly well distinguish the thoughts of my own head from the words the Lord is speaking to me. Sometimes, He’s the one who starts speaking first. He might say, “See that [object] over there?” “Yes Lord, I see it.” “What might it teach you about…” And I began to get a thought or lesson to write or instruction for myself. I compare it to Jeremiah when the Lord said, “Go down to the potter’s house. I want to show you something.” Thousands of years later, we sing to the Lord, “Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.” Jeremiah obeyed The Voice and gave us an understanding that is timeless. He is the Potter. We are just clay!
I meet people occasionally who have never prayed except prayers written in a book or other printed material, or memorized, like “The Lord’s Prayer.” They really do not know how to begin to pray on their own. Think of prayer as just talking to God. We tell Him what’s on our heart. Begin with giving thanks. Thank Him for saving you. Thank Him for sending Jesus to die for you. Thank Him for His presence with you day by day. Then start to tell Him how great He is, how you love what He has made — the Earth, the stars, the universe. Tell him how wonderful it is that He gave you a family and friends. Marvel at how He has changed your life. Let Him know that you appreciate what He has ALREADY done. Then, move to asking for what concerns you at the time. Just start somewhere and go. “Lord, You know how I need some items for the children and the budget is stretched. I pray you make a way for me to find and get these things.” Expect Him to help you and you may be very surprised. I have heard so many stories about this.
One woman pastor I knew years ago talked about her family being poor because her Daddy was a Pentecostal preacher. In that day and time, Pentecostals were mostly poor people. They were desperate enough and came to a place where they could be taught how to trust God. But there was little money to pay the pastor. When you have a fat bank account, it doesn’t occur to you to pray for food as you speed dial the pizza man. My friend told of more than one time her Daddy prayed as they sat around an empty dinner table. He thanked God for the food they were about to eat. There were times they all sat there maybe over an hour, but nobody got up to leave the table. Every time, not just SOME of the time, every time, there would be a knock at the door: someone bringing food.
My friend grew up knowing how to trust God. And she knows how to pray. Lessons she will never forget. We should follow that example ourselves. Not neglecting the PRIVILEGE it is to speak directly with the King of the Universe, because the huge veil in the Temple that separated us from Him was torn from top to bottom by the finger of God the moment Jesus died.
Our High Priest (Jesus) has gone into the very presence of God. He feels sympathy for our weaknesses. He was tempted as we are, but did not sin. Therefore, let us go bravely to the throne of God, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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