Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019. What is prayer? How does prayer work? How to pray? How often to pray? What to say? What to expect? Who is there to be addressed in prayer? What to hear? How to hear? There are a lot of good questions when it comes to prayer - to the communication with God. Prayer is the word we use to talk about this communication.
Two-Way Communication …
Prayer is a two-way communication. You want to speak to God and tell him your points, your feelings, your needs, your requests. Indeed, God wants to hear from you. He wants you to pray. Jesus himself gives us templates for prayer, which contain several important elements. But you also want to listen. You want to listen to God talking to you - usually not by hearing voices. No, God talks in different ways.
God talks through his word, the biblical texts. God talks through songs and through the holy spirit, who can talk to our mind and spirit. God can talk to us by drawing our attention to particular words within the bible, to particular statements which suddenly clarify some point. The answer is there, just out of nowhere, just becoming clear. When biblical statements gain a new clarity, we often hear the Lord speaking to us personally.
Listening to God is very important. It needs practice, to understand the biblical words. Search, and you will find! Listen, and you will hear! Open your heart and your mind. The Lord is searching you and wants to find you!
Templates for Prayer …
The bible has a tremendous number of templates for prayer. Sometimes we do not realize it, but if you start to open your eyes, the variety and breadth of prayer templates is stunning. There is, of course, the our-father prayer of Jesus himself (Matthew 6). But there are various words about prayer in the New Testament, in the letters. Paul talks about what to pray and how to pray. He encourages the church and each and every individual to pray all the time.
And there is the book of the psalms. There are 150 prayer templates in this book. The psalms have prayers in joy. They have prayers in victory. There are prayers in suffering, prayers when you grief. There are prayers in trouble, prayers in battle, prayers after battle. The templates given by the psalms are very exciting. They tell us how God wants us to pray. They give us guidance, and they provide good practice for us to take and pray ourselves, with the psalms.
Prayer is good. Prayer is exciting. It is more than an exercise. God, you want me to look to you, and to open my heart and my mind. You want me to be with you, in your presence. It is good for me (and other humans), when I ask for your will, your heart, your mercy, your truth and your love! You are and remain the origin and goal, beginning and the end, and a wonderful center of all what is! (Roland Potthast) ... further texts