WHAT IS PRAYER?

There is much written about prayer. There are various types of prayers, asking for help, intercession, thanksgivings, praise etc. I donít deal with these, neither with outward forms in praying.

Still there are many people, who do not know, what prayer is. They think, that it is only asking for something to fill our selfish needs. When they donít get it, they think, that praying doesnít work. For them prayer might be some sort of automate, in which they put their "coin" and then think they will get the answer at once. Or they only ask for help in difficult situations.

But prayer is something else. Here only some thoughts.

Anyhow everyone can ask for help : "And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." (Ps.50:15). But have we forgotten to glorify God and thank Him?

What Prayer really is?

But only a Christian, born again , can really begin to know, what prayer is. For him is prayer to be in contact with his heavenly Father and tell Him, what is in our mind.

The deepest meaning in prayer is to be near the one, whom we love, to speak, to listen or only to be in close contact.

Although we are still only weak beings, we learn to know God and His will better and from this relationship can something valuable come into our lives.

But doesnít God know everything in forward? Why is then this prayer so important?
Such thoughts are very cold and arrogant. Our life is not determined in advance. We have a free will and we have to make choices all the time. We daily meet new situations and we have to choose between various alternatives, which influences on our future. In these situations we need wisdom and therefore we should ask for wisdom and guidance from above.

In our prayer we ask, that Godís will may happen. That can sometimes be dangerous for us. If we pray, that God should interfere in our plans, He may sometimes change them. Our selfish plans doesnít always bring the right love to our surroundings. Godís plans are superior to our plans.

If we donít pray, we can easily be a victim for the stress, which is so typical in our time and is going still worse. We do hasty and wrong decisions and we have to meet the consequences. Nowadays people speak in increasing amount about depression. Many believers get into this bad circle. Always we donít know the real reason behind. Therefore it important, that our Christian life is on a right basis, where prayer is a natural part and we may live under the guidance of God.

Often we donít realise, that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ef. 6:12) We are living in a world, which not at all lives according to Godís will.

It is not question, how long time we pray. People are in very various situations in this respect. Everyone has to find his own possibilities and his manner to pray. Most important is the attitude of our heart. Are we humble and open before God and trust in His Word?

God gives Answers

God hears our prayers and answers. We must remember, that His answers often is involved in a broader connection, of which we donít have any idea of. Too often we look at things only from our small view. But His answer can also be "no". Or we have to wait a while for the answer. Then perhaps He gives something much better. Sometimes He answers in a way, which we donít immediately recognise. After maybe many years we begin to understand, that such answer then was the best for us and led us into right direction.

Sometime we donít get answers at all, because "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:3)

The most important part of prayer is however not to get answers. It is to learn more about God. When Godís Holiness and His Grace rule in our heart, we can enter into a more fruitful praying life, where victories can be achieved, This is never easy for a proud mind. The most important thing is the right attitude in our heart.

God never works according to the selfish wills of mankind. He works according to His wisdom. Therefore we can not do scientific research about prayers. We donít know, why some can get answers and other not, why some can be healed and other not. I think, that much more should happen, if people should not be so curious and people really should thank God and give Him praise for what He is doing. People and the mass media today only seeks for sensations and scandals and in such atmosphere Godís power can not work. Our selfish thoughts are often a obstacle to get answers.

God's Promises

God has given us many promises in His Word about prayer. We should study them very carefully in order to understand, what prayer really is. Here I very shortly refer to the speech of Jesus in Joh. 14 Ė 16. Six times he repeats : "whatsoever ye shall ask Ö will I do"

We perhaps think, that these promises are not real in daily life. But we donít observe the conditions regarding these promises :

  • " ye abide in me" (We are in Christ, born again, Godís children, we are obedient and we have a clean heart)
  • " my words abide in you" (We trust in the Word of God and His word will guide us in our daily life)
  • " that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (We must be humble, our pride is often an obstacle)
  • " ye should go and bring forth fruit" (We are obedient to God and we act according to His will)
  • " ye shall ask the Father in my name" (This is authority given from above, not selfish one taken by us)
  • " ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (Real praying is a joyful task)

Here we have much to learn. We never learn enough about these things. The spirit, which rules in this world, will never be able to understand this depth in the praying. Only the Holy Sprit can guide us toward these depths.

Obstacles for Prayer Answers

I will here only list some of these obstacles. Everyone should check his own life and his attitudes. I think, that all of us has something, where we should repent and make changes in our attitudes.

Obstacles are among other : unbelief, pride (I myself), critical attitude toward God, bitterness, lack of forgiveness and love toward God and other people.

Prayer is so important, that we should do everything we can in order to learn more about it, specially in our daily life.
Nowadays society and global markets require effectiveness in various fields. We can not easily apply those demands and methods in our praying work, because we are here dealing with Gods work, not with human efforts.

The disciples and Jesus

We should pray as the disciples : "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. br> 10. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matt. 6)

    after 17.6.2006.

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