This year I turn 60. In the past fifty years my life has been changed dramatically by my pursuit to understand the phenomenon that we Christians call prayer. Prayer is essential in our relationship with God. It enhances and ensures spiritual growth. It empowers us in the midst of spiritual battles. Teaching our children, the truth about prayer, is foundational.
There are tons of articles out there to tell you when to pray, what to pray, and even how to pray. But what is prayer? How does it work?
Prayer is not a monologue.
Prayer is a dialogue. Prayer is not just a conversation; it’s the place where faith meets command and obedience is born. Can we really reduce it to a formula of what, when and how to speak to God? Does one size really fit all? I think not.
At the age of six, I put my faith in Jesus and trusted Him to come inside of me and live with me forever. When you have someone living in your home you get to know them. How much more with someone who makes His home in your heart?
I figured out quickly that prayer is the best way to get to know God. It is not a way to reach God as though He is out there separate waiting for me to come. It is a way of living with God right here inside of me, equally a part of everything I think, do, or say.
Little children have this amazing ability to talk to parents about anything and everything. They actually expect that we want to hear the details and will really do something to fix their problems. As a six-year-old believer, in childish faith, I did just that with my heavenly Father. If I had a problem I told Him. If I had a question I asked it. If something good happened in my life, I thanked Him for it. If I needed help I ran to Him to get it.
Above all children need to know that God is listening. Anyone can talk to God. He hears and is kind and good to give grace and kindness to all. Christian prayer, however, does have some benefits.
God calls Himself our Father for a reason. I can talk to anybody’s dad about my problems. They may even take pity and help me out or listen to my stories. But there is a different relationship that takes place when a loving father hears his child's need. There is not a more loving father thatn God. He will hear everyone who speaks to Him but how tender His heart is toward HIs own children.
Christian prayer is based on our faith in Christ. Faith changes the way we come. In Biblical prayer relationship takes place and love grows.
Prayer goes beyond just asking and thanking. It involves becoming vulnerable as we blend faith with obedience. The perfect good and gracious Father to whom Jesus tells us to pray is a Father who loves for us to come about everything all the time. The more we come and the more we share the more our relationship grows along with our understanding of Who He is and who we are. Colossians 4:2 "Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving."