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Prayer: Communication with God

Prayer begins with the understanding that our Father is God and he is good.

If every prayer you prayed was answered, would your life become better or would the lives of the people around you become better?

I ask myself this question regularly because it challenges the motives in my heart for how and what to pray. I don’t know about you, but I find that prayer is one of those disciplines in life that I know is healthy and important, but I typically feel like I’m falling short in how I pray, how often I pray, and what I pray for. I have incredible intention to pray powerful prayers, but more often than I care to admit, my intention falls short of action. Or the action to pray is cut short by distractions. If attention deficit disorder applies to prayer, then I may be diagnosed. If you can relate, then we’re all in this together.

It seems we’re motivated to pray when the needs are bigger than the provision.

We all do pray. Sometimes. We pray when the money runs out before the month. We pray when our “heartthrob” leads to heartbreak. We pray when the doctor gives a less than desirable health report. It seems we’re motivated to pray when the needs are bigger than the provision.

But wouldn’t we all like to pray more? Better? With more passion and faith?

 

 

Prayer is communication with God. We speak. He listens. He speaks. We listen. We pray by faith, but, if we’re honest, sometimes it can feel like we’re speaking into space. A few months ago, we were having a problem with our cell phone service not working correctly (first world problem) and I called their customer service to get help. The automated computer voice on the other end of the line heard my question, but by the end of the call, I realized I couldn’t reach an actual person to give me a real solution to my problem. I spent 20 minutes talking, but there was no helpful answer. Sometimes prayer can feel like that.

The disciples had a front row seat to how Jesus practiced prayer. No matter how busy his schedule, he was always escaping to the mountain to pray. Finally, they asked him to teach them to pray. I find that fascinating. They didn’t ask Jesus to teach them how to heal, how to open blind eyes, how to quiet a storm, how to preach using parables, or even how to multiply food for five thousand. They wanted a tutorial on prayer, and thank God they did. Jesus taught them (and us) to pray, but not by giving them a lecture on prayer or the doctrine of prayer. He just gave them a simple, actual prayer.

When we pray as Jesus taught us, our concern won’t be the answer but solely communicating with our Father.

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: 'Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.'” (Luke 11:2-4 NLT)

We can memorize this passage and pray these exact words, but I believe Jesus was getting at something deeper, beginning with the understanding that our Father is God and he is good. Our Shepherd is sacred and sympathetic. The One who created us is for us and not against us. If we don’t have that understanding, we’ll always feel like a beggar who is bothering God rather than a son or daughter building a relationship with their Father.

When we pray as Jesus taught us, our concern won’t be the answer but solely communicating with our Father. We speak. He listens. He speaks. We listen.

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