What is Prayer?
For true Christians, prayer is communion with God. Through prayer we actually experience relationship with God. The quality of our prayer life then determines the quality of our relationship with God. Prayer is talking with God. Prayer is listening to God. Prayer is enjoying the presence of God. It can take many forms – for example: worship, confession, thanksgiving, praise, petition (asking for things), waiting (silent, listening and sensing of God) and warfare (command). If we are baptized in the Spirit we can pray with the spirit, in languages unknown to us but not to God. (1 Corinthians 14:2,14).
Prayer is not simply saying words. It is not repeating formulas. God is looking for heartfelt relationship. We are told by Jesus not to make meaningless repetitions of words when we pray. (Mathew 6:7). Tongues may be meaningless to our understanding, but it is not to God. In a future lesson we will give more attention to this subject.
There is a lot of prayer that never reaches God. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself” (Luke 18:11). “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer shall be an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9). It is outside the scope of this lesson to talk about prayers offered to false gods or to the devil. Also, we will not look at religious prayers or traditional prayers that can be uttered without heart. We will be considering prayers that come from one who has repented of his sins to the best of his knowledge, and who walks by faith.