Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is prayer anyway?

Prayer would have to be one the most beautiful gifts we have ever been given.  Prayer is very simply spending time with God and talking to him.  Did you notice that I didn't just say talking to him? Some of the most amazing time spent praying is when you say nothing but listen to God's voice and soak in his presence.  Prayer is all about building a relationship with your Creator,the God who loves you.  If you love someone or even like them and want to get to know them better, you want to spend time with them right?  It is the same with God.

One of the best ways to get to know the God of the Ages is by reading the letters he has left for you-The Bible.  Yes, each of the books in the bible was a separate scroll, letter or book written by inspiration of God, left here for you to read as a manual for life.  In God's Word (the Bible) you will find history, prophecy that has been fulfilled and some which is still to come to pass, love letters, proverbs, songs, parables and much more, aimed at giving you a glimpse of God's own heart.  It also includes the plan by which God determined he would save your life-through the sacrifice of Jesus-his awesome son (otherwise known as the Gospel).  If you want to know God, you have to read his book.  Believe me you won't regret it.  You don't even have to start at the beginning.  The first book I ever read in the bible was the last one-Revelation.

Secondly, tell God your heart.  There is nothing real in preparing a long winded and eloquent speech to God who already knows what is in your heart anyway.  Tell him how you feel.  If you are happy sing to him, if you are angry yell at him, if you are unsure ask him questions, if you are sad cry out to him.  If you can't find words write him a letter.  Honesty and trust are the way to build a relationship.  Jesus is the best friend you will ever have.  As your relationship grows solid with him over time he will show you all sorts of things you would never have dreamed.  Your own heart will be changed and renewed as you spend time with him.

Thirdly.  Listen to his voice.  As you spend time with someone you learn to recognise their voice.  It's like speaking to a new friend on the phone.  At first you don't recognise the voice because it's unfamiliar.  But it's not long before you recognise it instantly.  God speaks to me in many different ways.  I know for example that he has spoken to me in dreams since I was a child.  He speaks to me through reading his Word (the Bible).  I may have read the same passage 50 times and yet one day I will be reading it and something will fly off the page (metaphorically speaking) and touch my heart.  I know then that he is talking to me personally.  I hear him in my spirit/heart when we are spending time together.  The best I can explain it is when my head and heart are quiet, there are words that come from my heart, not from my head and I know they are from him.  He speaks to me through songs that I listen to, books that I read and often through other people when they share their stories with me.  It really is the most awesome thing in the world.

The last thing I would say about prayer is that it's all about relationship.  Just like our earthly relationships they are awkward if you don't spend time together.  You don't seem to have anything in common, you talk about surface stuff but nothing of real importance and it's a real effort to keep the conversation going.  Your relationship with God is just like that.  If you don't spend time with him it will be awkward at first, you need time to get to know him and trust him.

You see we all have a relationship with God even if you don't want one.  He made you, he knows you, and he loves you.  Jesus is just waiting for you to call him up and hang out with him for a while.  He has missed you heaps and looks forward to the day when he will visit you again and take you back to his house for a celebration dinner.

Pencil sketch of Jesus listening to my prayer -by Nicole Watson

Hear me as I pray O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds, "Lord I am coming."
(Psalm 27:7-8)

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