What is Prayer?
Prayer is spiritual communication between you and God, a two-way relationship in which you should not only talk to God but also listen to Him. Prayer to God is like a child's conversation with his father. It is natural for a child to ask his father for the things he needs.
There are many promises in God's Word to encourage us to pray, such as: "He shall call upon me and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him" (Psalm 91:15); "And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24); "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7). The Scriptures tell us that we are to pray for one another and also assures us that God hears and answers prayer.
When you receive Christ into your heart, you become a child of God and have the privilege of talking with Him in prayer at any time about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity.
Source: "What is prayer?" by Billy Graham Evangelical Association staff at billygraham.org
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. -- Philippians 4:6
Why Should I Pray?
One of the questions most often asked about prayer is: Why should we pray when God already knows our needs? Why tell God what He already knows or ask Him to do what He already wants to do?
Thank God we don't have to understand prayer in order to pray. Granted, there are some valid questions people have concerning prayer, but these must not hinder us from relying upon it.
Two Reasons We Don't Pray
- We don't pray to impress God. We're not heard for our "much-speaking." You don't have to use poetic language or be an amateur Shakespeare. If an earthly child can speak to an earthly father, you can speak to your Heavenly Father. We're told to cry out to Him as our "Abba" Father — literally translated, "Daddy." (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6).
- We don't pray to inform God. You can't tell God anything He doesn't know.
So if we don't pray to impress or inform God, why then do we pray?
We Pray to Invite God
It's very important to understand this: we are inviting God into our lives when we pray. When we pray, we experience —
- Fellowship. We become "workers together with Him" (2 Corinthians 6:1). When we pray, God gives us the joy and privilege of administrating His kingdom, His affairs — working together with Him. He could do it without us. We could not do it without Him. But what a glory that God allows us the privilege of doing it with Him!
- Development. When we pray, God is growing us. Have you ever prayed and didn't receive immediately what you asked for? What did you do? You kept on praying, but you also began to search your heart and life to see if something was hindering God's answer. Many times there is. God uses prayer to grow us.
- Dependency. God never wants us to live lives independent of Him. If God just did everything for us and we never had to pray, soon we would begin to take things for granted. We would cease to depend upon God.
We Pray to Bind Us to God
That's why we tell God what He already knows. He knows what we have need of before we ask, but we're definitely, specifically, unqualifiedly told to pray and to ask — not to impress or inform God, but to invite God, so that we might have that fellowship with Him, so that we might grow, and learn to depend upon Him.
Source: "Since God Knows Everything, Why Should We Pray?" by Adrian Rogers at oneplace.com
How Should I Pray?
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.
The closest the Bible comes to giving a "pattern" for prayer is the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Please understand that the Lord's Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. It is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord's Prayer talks about, using our own words and "customizing" it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God's desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.
Source: "How to pray? What is the proper way to pray?" at gotquestions.org
... pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. -- James 5:16b
The Prayer Tree is a vital ministry of our church. Prayer makes a difference in the lives of God's people. Sometimes the only way we can help another person is to lift them up to God in prayer. Our Prayer Tree is a list of individuals who have committed to praying for the needs of others.