What is Prayer?

Think about your relationships in life. Think about your closest friendships. How did you develop such a deep bond with them? How did you begin to trust someone who, at one time, you never knew at all?

There were probably many things that created trust between you and your closest friends. One of those was probably just spending time talking and getting to know each other, opening up about yourself and learning about your friend.
 
Imagine trying to have a relationship with someone you never talked to. At that, imagine trying to trust someone you never talked to at all. It’s just not possible, right?

Then why would we think developing a relationship with and learning to trust God would be any different? We have to talk to God to know and be known by Him.
 
We have a name for talking to God—it’s prayer! Sometimes, prayer can seem like a big, confusing, maybe mystical topic. Maybe you never thought it was something you could do. Maybe you grew up in a church where only priests prayed.
 
But really prayer is very simple.

God so desires to hear from you. He loves it when you talk to Him. In Ephesians 3, Paul tells us that through Jesus we have access to God, and we can approach Him with a bold confidence.
 
At the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus shows us that we can approach God as our Heavenly Father, and we can expect Him to act as a good father toward us.
 
Think about your best friend again. If they asked you to do something, you wouldn’t do the exact opposite. No, you would want to serve them well by doing what they asked, unless you knew what they were asking would hurt them.

If this is how we, as broken people feel toward our friends, then God—who is perfect and infinitely loves and cares about you—will do what you ask or will do what He knows is best for you.
 

God wants us to be honest. You can tell Him about yourself, the things you desire in your life or the things you wish weren’t there. You can tell Him the things that make you happy, sad, scared, excited or mad. He’s always listening and always present. Read Psalm 139, and you will know exactly what I mean. He already loves you, so there’s no reason to be afraid to open up to Him.

If prayer still seems a tad confusing, if you don’t know where to start or you feel prayer is dry or boring. Take a quick look at the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”


Here are a few examples of things we can pray for:

- We can praise God in our prayers. {Hallowed be your name.}
- We can ask for His kingdom to invade Earth. {That might look like asking for God to show up in       miracles, to heal the sick or restore the brokenhearted.}
- We can ask for His will to be done. 
- We can ask for His provision. {For our daily bread.}
- We can ask for our salvation, for forgiveness and for the same thing for others.  
- We can ask for help facing sin and temptation.

Author | Lindsey Conway

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