Prayer is 2-way communication!
Jodie continues her series on prayer. You can read her introduction at Never Stop Praying.
When I first started following Jesus as a teenager I was amazed that I could talk to God and that He would listen to me! Prayer and talking to God was a huge excitement and revelation and in those early days, when God felt so close, I prayed a lot and felt like I heard from Him too!
However, over the years, especially during times of doubt and confusion, I wondered if praying really made any difference at all. Unanswered prayers and not feeling sure that God was really there listening to ‘little me’ made me very apathetic in my prayer life. If God is in control and has my days mapped out, what was the point in praying anyway? Would it really make any difference? Would prayer change anything? What was the point? Does the God of the universe really want to hear my little ‘worries’ and ‘concerns’ about my life? Is He really interested?
Fast forward 34 years, from the evening that I decided to follow Jesus, to today and here I am sharing a little bit of what I have learnt over those years…that prayer is actually about forming a relationship with the living God! Over the next few months, I will share a little of what I have learnt about prayer.
What does it mean to ‘pray’?
The Cambridge dictionary says that to ‘pray’ is – to speak to God either privately, or in a religious ceremony in order to express love, admiration or thanks, or in order to ask for something. I agree with the Cambridge Dictionary definition in that prayer IS about communication with God, but I would add the following…
Prayer isn’t about earning favour with God.
Prayer isn’t about being religious.
Prayer isn’t about improving my wellbeing.
Prayer isn’t a daily ritual to prove anything or to make my life better.
Prayer isn’t a panic button when life throws me a crisis.
Prayer is communication with a living God.
Prayer is about building relationship with the God who loves me.
Prayer is how I interact with my heavenly Father.
Prayer is essential to me knowing God.
Prayer is sharing my life with God.
God is love and He wants a relationship with us
Right from the start of the world, God wanted to have a relationship with His people. It was, and still is, all about relationship and LOVE. God is love (1 John 4:8). And His love is shown, demonstrated, active, and worked out in relationship. God being love means that there must be an object for His love and that’s why He created the world and us! God’s desire is to be with us and in relationship with us. Read the Bible and you will see that strand running through the whole of the scriptures.
Jesus was sent to deal with sin and to enable us to have a relationship with God. Jesus made the way clear for us to come close to our heavenly Father. Jesus was sent by God as God was so desperate to be in relationship with us.
Relationships need communication
Any relationship needs to have communication at its centre. We can’t know someone if we don’t communicate with them. We might know what they look like and what they ‘do’, but in order to know them in any meaningful way – their personality, their hopes and dreams, their ambitions, their likes and dislikes, their feelings – we need to communicate with them. And communication is not just talking. Communication is listening and observing too. Being present and together is so important in relationship building, we don’t just talk at our friends, we listen too. Good communication has to be two-way.
So we know that we need to communicate with God in order to develop our relationship with Him and in order to grow in following Jesus… but how? Through prayer! Prayer is one of the primary ways we can grow in our relationship with our heavenly Father. We get to know Him, we get to ask Him for help and we get to learn to trust Him as we see Him actively involved in our lives. It’s our two-way communication!
So let’s commit to spend time in prayer, speaking to our heavenly Father in two-way communication. We can be confident that He hears us and that in prayer we can get to know Him better. These scripture passages may help and encourage you in your prayers…Matthew 7:7-11; 1 Peter 3:12; Matthew 6:6-13; Luke 11:1-13.
Look out for my next blog post on prayer and seeking God.
Thank you Jodie
If you would like to hear more on prayer you can listen to Simon’s talk: Praying with Abraham