Growing up I always knew that when it is time to pray we had to close our eyes, bow our heads, and have our hands in a specific position; and so, my definition of prayer was not just a thing of the heart, but a physical thing as well. One of the things I love about the Bible is how we are shown that Jesus lived a prayerful life – He always wanted to stay connected with His Father. It is not an easy thing to do though; it is not every day that we want to pray, and that is why prayer is intentional – we are not to be led by our feelings or our mood, but by our heart, spirit and the spirit of God.
Over the years, I have understood prayer to mean various things and this has been revealed through God, the Bible, people, and seasons of life. In this post I share with you what I have learnt about what prayer is.
Prayer is an act of worship. “Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission” (Webster’s Dictionary,1828). In our context therefore to worship is to honor God, with extravagant love and extreme submission to Him. We worship God in various ways such as through song, through giving, through prayer – and all these are acts of worship. When we pray we worship God because we take a position of humility.
Prayer is an honest conversation with God. It is letting Him know your heart and getting to know His heart as well. I love how the Bible refers to our hearts; this shows us that indeed prayer is about our heart and it is an act of surrender. The actions/positions that we take when we pray are thus acts of surrender. When we lift our hands, or put them together, kneel down – we are surrendering to a greater power than ourselves. Prayer is one of the ways we grow our relationship with God – just like reading the Bible, we grow in our prayer life – I can attest that how our viewed prayer as a child, when I gave my life to God and now has grown and has shifted in a good way. I am more intentional about my prayer life, I don’t do it merely as a routine but because I want to talk to God.
Prayer is believing and acknowledging God. There is a day when I was praying and I started thinking about ‘why’ I was actually telling and asking God what I was at that specific moment – and I realized it is because I believe that He can do it. We pray because we believe that God has the power, the ability and the will to answer our prayers. We acknowledge who He is to us and what He can do when we pray. Thus what we say when we pray is an act of belief in God.
Prayer is about you and about others. Prayer is personal but it is also to be shared with others. A good example is John 17 where Jesus prays in three parts: He prays for Himself, He prays for His disciples, and He prays for all believers. I like the order set out in this chapter because it shows that first it starts with praying for yourself – and then praying for others. When we come into His presence we not only glorify Him, and tell Him what is in our heart etc. – we also prepare ourselves and this means setting our heart right with God. I like that Jesus showed us that it is first and foremost about us, and then about those we love, those we know, those around us, those we ought to pray for etc.
Brief summary about this chapter: this was right before Jesus was betrayed by Judas. In the first part He prays and acknowledges that the time has come and that His work on earth is now done. He proceeds to pray for the disciples and speaks about their belief in His teachings, and He asks God to protect them. Then the chapter closes by Him praying for all believers – to believe in the message of God sent through Christ.
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Prayer is our weapon. There is a song that I love and the chorus (I believe) always gets me “this is how I fight my battles”. I am a testimony of the prayers of my mum – there is a phase I went through in life when she could not understand why I was acting the way I was (I was so hard headed….man) but she prayed for me and that was her weapon – I don’t have to tell you but if you know me then you can attest that indeed her prayers were answered. There are certain things we can’t sort out on our own and thus we use prayer as a weapon to fight those battles. Two things happen can happen we do this: God will do it, He will send you someone to help you, or He will show you how to do it.
Put on the full armour of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s schemes.
I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Prayer is beautiful; it is uplifting, it is inspiring, it gives us perspective, it strengthens our faith, it is powerful and helps us connect with God. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about prayer – and I am really excited because this is my first series on the blog. Feel free to share what prayer is to you.