What exactly is prayer? One view is that prayer is just talking to God as you would to anyone. But there is one major difference. When talking to God, we cannot see, hear or touch Him.
In my view, prayer is about engaging in a relationship with God. And how we relate to God will determine how we pray to Him. A person who views God as a loving father will pray differently from one who views Him as a disciplinarian.
The wonderful thing is that we have a God who is majestic, all powerful and supreme, and who loves to respond to his children’s prayers. He wants to have a close, caring and complete relationship with us. As a result, we can pray to God in a meaningful, healthy and loving manner.
Why should we pray? Below are some reasons:
- We want to express our deep and heartfelt love for God;
- We want to ask for forgiveness arising from any wrongdoing;
- We want to give thanks to God for His blessings;
- We ask God to solve problems faced by us or others; and
- We are hurting and ask for God’s comfort
Furthermore, our prayers during our solitude with God, tells us much about ourselves. For example:
- Do we pray for God to bless us with wealth or are we happy to ask for our needs to be met? In other words, do we ask for a feast or just a sufficient meal?
- Do we ask for success in our endeavours or do we pray for us to be useful to God?
- Do we ask for a life of joy and happiness or do we pray to be a source of joy and happiness to others?
- Do we ask God to support a decision that we have made or do we ask God to guide us on how to make a decision?
- Do we pray for social recognition or do we ask for strength to serve unrecognised to further God’s kingdom?
- How much of our prayers are dedicated to making the lives of our enemies difficult? How much of our prayers are dedicated to loving others (including our enemies)?
I am very humbled every time these thoughts come to my mind…
As we mature in faith, our prayers will become less ego-centric and more God-centred. Our hearts will be changed and our love for others will grow.
May God continue to change our hearts and help us cultivate our prayer life…