So I have been thinking recently on the meaning of prayer and the point of such an exercise. Let me first define prayer as ‘the communion and conversation between us and the Trinity.’ I realized that some people pray to the Father and some to the Son and some to the Holy Spirit. For the purpose of this conversation I refer to the Father to whom Jesus spoke.
Recall that Jesus said not to use a lot of words because God already knows what our needs are. And yet Jesus offered to his disciples the model of the Lord’s Prayer, which is a beautiful expression to God of our praise, our daily needs and desire for his will.
Conversation with God is an expression of love as conversation is in all human relationships and since we are created in the image of God it makes sense that God would want such fellowship with us. Prayer is how we express our most basic needs and how we find strength and comfort from God.
It seems from the bible that God wants our cooperation in his work in his world. Jesus teaches his disciples how to ask for anything in his name, that is, in his nature. And sometimes it seems that our relationship to God is like a child’s to a parent where the greatest thrill for a parent is to enjoy the relationship with his or her child and grow in that relationship of love, and trust. God asks for our trust just like a child’s. This is probably why Jesus said that unless we become like children we couldn’t enter the Kingdom of God. I believe Jesus means right now because the Kingdom of God is begun through Christ and when we place our confidence in God through prayer we are within that Kingdom life. Recall that Paul said the Kingdom is joy and righteousness. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 14)
And there is no better place to know that life than in prayer, in communion, in love with God. Sometimes prayer can be in agony but that heartbreak is always surrounded with God’s love and assurance. This is why in Romans 8 Paul says that by the Spirit we call God ‘Abba’, the most intimate expression of loving address. You and I can tell God anything, anything. And we are assured that his listening to us is not in judgment but through Christ his love for us is filled with pardon, strength, healing and comfort. And if we listen carefully, which means being still, we will hear God speak to us, urge us, guide us and when we rise up from prayer we will know we have been with the Father, the Son and The Spirit.
That we can even pray is evidence of a loving God’s invitation into a relationship. So carve out a space and time for prayer. I remember when my children were young there was no greater joy than to have one of them climb up into my lap and just talk about anything, joys or troubles in the day. And at night what a thrill it was to lie in bed with one of them and recount the day’s events.
So may our hearts be given to God in prayer. If you know no other prayer then look at Matthew 6 for the Lord’s Prayer and let it soak into you. Just tell God you love him and let him love you. Reflect in these next weeks what Jesus did for you and me because of God’s great love. And may God bless richly that time you spend with him. I think I will go now and do what I have suggested.