“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:”
It seems that the first question we must ask is this: what is prayer? The simple answer is this: prayer is talking with God. We pray when we open our heart to the Almighty.
As simple as this is, it is also something people need to hear. Too many people feel that prayer is a certain sound . . . Shakespearean English, rich in theological terminology very often spoken VERY loudly. Others feel prayer is something that takes place in a certain place or with a certain posture. But none of those things are requirements for true prayer. In fact, you can sound holy and not be doing anything other than talking to yourself.
I love to share the story Howard Hendricks tells of a young man who met Christ after many years of life in the world. After his conversion he went to his first prayer meeting. Everyone was getting up and uttering their flowery (and maybe showy) prayers. Finally, this new convert stood to pray and said, “Lord, this is Mel. I’m not sure whether you remember me or not . . . I met you last Tuesday night. I just wanted to say . . . well . . . Thank-you for changing my life.” And then he sat down. The simplicity and honesty of that prayer brought tears to the eyes of many. I suspect it brought a smile to the face of the Father, as well.
True prayer is honest, humble and personal.
There are several good reasons to pray.
Prayer is a privilege purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ died for this end, it cost him the shedding of his blood, so that we, through him, might have entrance to the throne of grace. And will you let such a privilege as this lie still? If you do, so far as is in you, you cause his blood to be shed in vain. For if you neglect the privileges gotten by that blood, you neglect the blood that procured them. [The Puritans on Prayer p.17]
Conversation is a part of any vital and growing relationship. We sometimes measure the quality of a marriage relationship by how well the couples communicates. Or to state it another way, one of the first things people point to as evidence that a marriage is in trouble is a lack of communication. The same is true for our relationship with the Father. True, honest, heartfelt conversation is a sign of a healthy relationship. A lack of conversation, or conversation only in public is a sign of a relationship in trouble.