What Really Is Prayer
In the Christendom, there are some key aspects of our walk with God that are indispensable and cannot be considered as an option. Prayer is one them. Reading the word of God ( the Bible) is another. Thanksgiving, praise and worship is another. And many more. When you are born into the world, you have your earthly parents. Naturally. You obtain food, shelter and clothing from them. Ideally, you receive all that you need from them by just asking, and they have no option but to honor your request. When they do, we often say thank you and go out there rejoicing. The same thing applies to your relationship with God the moment you become born again. God becomes our parent—Both our father and our mother. Hope you believe this. In fact, God becomes our family. And He entreats us to depend on and trust in Him for all our needs—spiritual and physical—just as we do to our earthly parents. One of the privileges God has given to His children is to ask Him anything we want according to His purpose, and this is done through prayer.
What Then Is Prayer?
My definition of prayer is simply communicating with God. By communication, I mean a two-way process of reaching a mutual understanding. Prayer is when we communicate with God and He with us. It is not a one way thing. It is an interpersonal form of communication. I have never asked anything my parents and they keep mute without any response. They may ask 'why' and/or 'what' questions. So when we ask anything, we are praying. Prayer is an everyday activity. God is all sufficient and He wants to share all He has with us. But He can only do that when we ask Him. I remember I was sacked from class one morning because I didn't finish paying my fees. I got home and kept quiet because I was afraid and couldn't ask for money to pay the bill. My father had the feeling and asked me why I was at home as at that time of the day and I told him that I was asked to go out from class because I didn't pay my fees. Though he got angry because I didn't ask him earlier, he quickly gave me the money and I returned back to school. This is what happens when we ask God for anything. He is faithful and will not fail us. We just have to ask him. Always. Jesus said in John 14:14, "if you ask anything in my name, I will do it"
Types of Prayer
Prayer can take many forms. Some of them include the following:
1. Thanksgiving: This is one type of prayer. It is the act of telling God and the world what He has done for you and others. It is said to give thanks and to show appreciation to God for what He has done. In Philippians 1:3&4, Paul the Apostle, writes, " I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy." Ephesians 5:20 also says, "Always and for everything give thanks in the name of Jesus Christ to God the Father." There's a myriad of passages in the Bible that point to the prayer of thanksgiving.
2. Intersection: This prayer is said to intercede on behalf of others. We can pray for our friends. We can pray for our husband, wife, children, the sick, the afflicted, and anyone we can think of. We can also intercede on behalf of our country. In the book of Acts, we see the church often praying for believers who were in trouble.
3. Supplication: This is the prayer said to make requests and petitions. This is often personal. When we are in trouble, we ask God to come into the situation and change things around for our good. Hannah needed a son and took it to the Lord in prayer. Jesus Christ often pray to God for empowerment. Paul and Silas prayed to God while in prison. These are prayers of supplication or petition.
4. Confessional: This is the type of prayer that is said to confess our sins to God for forgiveness. We commit sin everyday and this takes God's glory away from us (Romans 3:23). But like David in Psalm 51, we can carry our sins to God in deep sorrow and ask for mercy and grace through prayer.
Mode of Christian Prayers
Christian prayers can take the following mode:
- Silent prayer (meditation).
- Congregational prayer where the whole church prays to God on Sunday and/or Saturday.
- Sitting with heads bowed
- Lying prostrate on the ground
- Standing and walking around.
- Holding hands of those present
- Lifting up of the hands.
So just as we won't get what we want from our earthly parents and masters by keeping mute, so it is with God. God will not act until we take it to Him in prayer. Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere? Take it to the Lord in prayer. Let's cultivate the habit of continual and persistent prayer. Read my next article on what prayer can do (the power of prayer).
© 2020 Ernest Festus Awudey