“Prayer is . . .”

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            Prayer is part of relating to God and developing a deeper relationship with Him.  There are many thoughts and ideas relating to prayer.  I want to share a thought that might encourage you and bless you in prayer.

            The first way most of us learn to pray is by parroting or mimicking.  As children we hear our parents pray and we copy the phrases and words we hear.  For example, one of the first prayers many people learn is the phrase—“God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.”  This almost rhymes doesn’t it.  No one would confuse this prayer for a deep discussion with God, but it is a start.  My observation is that most people struggle with prayer for a number of reasons.  People avoid prayer because they are confused with what to say.  While I hope we all are on a path of deeper praying, it might be good for us to get started with simple prayer.

            The disciples of Jesus saw Jesus pray and they were amazed.  They knew that Jesus had a prayer life that was unlike anything they ever experienced.  This is what motivated them to ask:  “Jesus, teach us to pray.”  In response to this Jesus gave them what we call the “Lord’s Prayer.”  I believe that the “Lord’s Prayer” is a guide for what we should think and engage in regarding prayer time.  I also believe that Jesus intended his prayer outline as a rote tool for learning how to pray.  There is value in repeating something and learning what it means and stands for.

            As we consider “rote” prayer we would be wise and turn to what has been the prayer book for God’s people for nearly 3,000 years.  The Psalms have been a source of inspiration for many servants of God.  As we end this year let me suggest something that you might want to start 2014 with.  How about praying the Psalms?  The Psalms are poetic prayers written primarily by David to God.  In the Psalms we read about God being praised.  God is questioned.  There are times of heart wrenching confession in the Psalms.  David calls God into question when things are difficult and he thanks God for his help and greatness.

            If we were honest we would admit that we are often clueless about how to handle the pressures of life.  What would it be like to have a veteran servant of God take time and help us to pray?  How much help would it be if we could be honest about what is going on in our lives and open up to God?  In the Psalms we have an insider’s peek at the heart of a man who is described as “a man after god’s own heart.”  While it would be interesting to learn from David and absorb what he knows about God, it would slao do us a lot of good to gain a glimpse of the heart of God.  Prayer is all about communicating with God and developing a relationship with Him.

            As we march through the Christmas season and approach this new year I want to suggest a little discipline to you.  Read the Psalms and talk with God about a Psalm or two each day.  God has repeatedly told us that he seeks those who have a heart to find him and love him.  Dare to step out and see what God says about himself.  The rewards of boldly trusting God and developing a life of prayer are beyond imagination.  Keep looking up.