Let Us Pray
What is prayer? Prayer is not some kind of white magic. It is not an attempt to control God. It is neither a self-induced pep session, nor a demand note. Prayer is need finding a voice. It is guilt seeking relief. It is a friend in search of a Friend. Prayer is the expression of a relationship. Prayer is a way of practicing the presence of God.
In a very real sense, human beings are alive to what is in their awareness, to what they are in the presence of. To live in the awareness of God is to be alive to Him. It is to live in the cathedral of His presence. Each of us can practice the presence of God in prayer. Prayer is not merely something that one recites by rote in the morning, or at mealtime, or at bedtime, or at church. It is not to be so much scripted as a personal sharing from heart to Heart. This sharing happens in different ways.
There are prayers in which we praise our Father by acknowledging His goodness. With the Psalmist we pray:
- “You are good, Lord” (Psalm 25:7 NCV)
- “You, Lord, are forgiving and good” (Psalm 85:5 NIV)
In prayer we tell our “forgiving and good” Father how much we know we need His help when, in pain and guilt we acknowledge that we have sinned against His will, violated His commands, delayed the fulfillment of His plans, and worked against our own true welfare. This type of prayer is an acknowledgement of our sins and an expression of our craving for forgiveness. We turn to God in penitential prayer. Then, in Jesus Christ, we come to know the joy of having been forgiven, accepted anew, and loved by the One whose forgiveness, acceptance and love are crucial to our lives.
There are also prayers in which we lift up our needs and the needs of others to our Father. This is the kind of prayer that is most often associated with the word “prayer”. Such prayer flow spontaneously from the heart, at least from the heart that is overcome with the challenges of life and has compassion on others who so need God’s help. Martin Luther’s fellow reformer, Philip Melanchthon, said with regard to such prayers, “Trouble and perplexity drive us to prayer, and prayer drives away trouble and perplexity.”
We must not lose heart if we do not seem to get an immediate expected response to our prayers of request. Prayer is, after all, not a demand note. It is rather practicing the presence of God, letting His presence and power work in our lives and situations. By practicing the presence of God, we learn our total dependence on God. We learn to look to God, not for favors, but for the power of His love to be active in any given situation. Our relationship with God grows through the persistent practice of prayer.
By faith in Jesus Christ, we are equipped to bring our prayers to God in the full confidence that He will hear and answer us. Prayer is our way of practicing the presence of God. It is communicating in a very personal and intimate way with the God who is our loving Father. For the privilege of prayer, we truly give thanks, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Spreading, Serving and Sharing with You,