Prayer - What's It To You? To God?!
What a huge subject! One could easily spend months, years - a lifetime - studying prayer and never even begin to scratch the surface. From the Lord's Prayer to what is, how can we know, and how can we pray, God's will.
But if someone where to ask you, "What is prayer?," or, "What do Christians believe about prayer?," how would you answer them?
- Would your answer be, "Prayer is the practice of the presence of God."
- Would it be, "Prayer is asking things from God."
- Would it be, as we're told in Question 98 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English, "Prayer is offering our desires to God [Psalm 62:8, Psalm 10:17] in the name of Christ [John 16:23] for things that agree with His will [1 John 5:14, Matthew 26:39, John 6:38], confessing our sins [Daniel 9:4], and thankfully recognizing His mercies [Philippians 4:6]."
- Perhaps you'd give an answer similar to the great 17th Century English minister and Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, who said, "Prayer is the solemn and religious offering up of devout acknowledgments and desires to God, or a sincere representation of holy affections, with a design to give unto God the glory due unto his Name thereby, and to obtain from him promised favours, and both through the Mediator." (Henry, Matthew. Method for Prayer) (See also, book review).
- Or would it be (as described by King David) the lifting up of the living soul to the living God - "Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul." (Psalm 25:1)
What is your answer? What is prayer to you?
Readings: Sermon, Forget Not All His Benefits (John Piper, June 16, 1991)
Sermon, Prayer and the Victory of God (John Piper, January 1, 2006)
Ryle, J.C. Prayer
Bunyan, John. What True Prayer Is
Elliff, Jim. An Intimate Hour with God
Krejcir, Richard. Why We Pray!
Pink, Arthur W. Prayer
Sermon, Prayer - The Forerunner of Mercy (Charles Spurgeon, June 28, 1857)