As a boy my church gave me a small book on prayer, and I remember that it started “ Kneel down and say….”and a number of printed prayers followed for me to say.Perhaps it was helpful at my young age, and it was certainly a step forward to my Mother’s instruction of “God Bless Daddy, Mummy and… “ the family list followed.
When I was grown up and a Minister of the church, one of my congregation said to me “I cannot remember ever hearing a sermon on how to pray” and I had to say “no I cannot remember one either”. Perhaps the church presumes we all know how to pray, and forgets that it should be part of our church teaching.
What is prayer ? I would say, Prayer Is Communication with God Almighty. Seeing that God is everywhere there is no place where we cannot reach Him, so there is no place where we cannot talk to God and Listen to Him. Hold a conversation with Him. But having said that, like all conversation, some places are better than others, for we need to be free from distractions. For example, if someone visits us, we turn off the t/v program we were watching to concentrate on conversation with the visitor.
Helpful advise comes from Jesus ( in Matthew Ch6 v6-7) get alone in your room.
The reason so many people shut their eyes and put their hands together when praying is to cut out distraction. This also applies to our position when praying. You can kneel, stand, or sit. it does not matter, but if kneeling or standing distracts your thoughts and prayer, just make yourself more comfortable (but don’t fall asleep !)
If you were invited to have an interview with Her Majesty The Queen you would give much time to the event, and would approach the appointment with a sense of awe and happy respect. Prayer should be like that too. You are to be in the presence of the creator of the universe, the one who designed and made you, and with whom your whole eternal future hangs. Give Him a bit of your time. Don’t rush Him with a list of your requests as long as your arm.
Your God loves you more than any other person who knows you, try to show Him your love and adoration. Try to enjoy your time together. Apologize for faults and failings, Thank Him for what He has done for you, share your concerns with Him, tell Him about things that you have enjoyed. There is so much you have to share with Him. Not all prayers will be like this. Remember He is always with you. There have been times when in the middle of a situation I have shot a prayer to Him like a rocket sent into heaven, and I have seen His fantastic reply bring instantly the help I needed. And if you are walking all the time with Jesus you will find brief happy moments when the conversation is just like two friends enjoying each other’s company.
Your morning break time comes and you look around. “Lord Sally doesn’t look very happy today would You help her with whatever is troubling her ?” The traffic lights turn red. “Lord, that poor woman has got quite a problem with those two children, I pray You will touch her life with the help she needs.
Prayer is your conversation with your friend and Lord, Jesus. Just learn to chat with Him as you go through life. You will be amazed how easy and happy prayer life can be.
Christian-Helps Gerald Gossage.