Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us but brings us up to Him. Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p 93
What does prayer mean to you?
Personally, I view prayer as an intimate conversation with God, where I can be transparent and I can be myself! As a private person, I find safety in prayer, and I feel like it’s the place where I am most comfortable and willing to be vulnerable and open.
During prayer, I don’t have to worry about being judged, although often the fear of judgement and our misconceptions about the character of God are the very reasons we avoid praying. Though it’s not always easy, when I pray, I have the chance to lay it all out. I get to ask questions, I confess and ask for forgiveness, I share my struggles, worries, desires, strengths, weaknesses, failures, achievements, bad habits, and goals. I can thank and praise God for who He is, for the death of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in my life.
The more I pray, the more I realise that Christ develops a greater appreciation of love, mercy, and grace within me, and I experience peace, growth, relief, and a sense of transformation both within me and in the world around me. The process of prayer is like opening up to a close friend, well that is because Christ considers us as His friends (John 15:13). However, Christ is a friend like no other, and sincere prayer allows us to tap into God’s power, as we consent to Him taking control of our lives, in a way that could not be achieved by any other friend.
Again the question is what does prayer mean to you?
Despite growing up in the church and in an Adventist home I did not always know how to pray, nor did I understand the power of prayer. I was taught generic prayers for morning devotions, for meal times and bedtime, which I held onto for many years.
As a teen, when I was probed to pray I can remember reverting to one standard prayer that I would say repeatedly every day and at every given occasion. It was what I would call a performance piece, it was sweet to the ears, as it was constructed with all the right words and it made me sound like I had a genuine relationship with God. I later learnt that I was only fooling myself, and possibly some of the people around me, because I really didn’t believe most of the words in that prayer, it had just become a routine.
For many others, and myself prayer can sometimes be a performance piece, one that tends to sound polished and eloquent but not authentic. At times our prayers can sound like a shopping list or it could just be a good practice that we decide to continue with.
If you can relate to any of these examples, then it may be worthwhile to be reminded that God loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). In fact, because He loves us so much He wants to reason with us (Isaiah 1:18) in spite of our sins, and he wants us to develop a prayer life that leaves our hearts strengthened and one that builds our characters.
1) Devote to spending time with God (anytime is good, however when we spend personal time in the morning it sets the tone for the entire day). Check in with God throughout the day as much as possible.
2) Don’t avoid prayer because of guilt, these are usually the point in time where we need God the most and He is always ready and waiting to hear from us.
3) Be willing, to be honest, and humble. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), like in the parable of the two men who prayed (Luke 18:10-13). The Pharisee trusted in himself and scorned others, whilst the publican acknowledges his condition and looks to God for help.
4) Follow Christ model of prayer. The Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13); provides us with a great way to structure our prayers. It begins with praise and adoration, then confession, followed by supplication, then intercession and ends with thanksgiving.
5) Also, the use of scripture in our prayers is often recommended as it causes us to focus on the word of God and his promises.
As God so loves, He not only commanded us to pray, but He also gave us examples of how to pray and promised that He would answer us when we prayed. Prayer keeps us connected to God, and although He clearly understands the power of prayer, do we? Like in all relationships effective communication is essential for success, so let us strive to talk and reason with God as friends. #MorePrayerMorePower
Have a blessed week and don’t forget to join us every Wednesday night from 19.30-20.30 for prayer. Youth week of prayer continues this Wednesday 15th February, Friday 17th February at 19:30 and Sabbath 18th February at 11:00 am.