What Is Prayer?

Samuel Smith



You are welcome to another edition of Insights from God's Word, a Bible study programme that is committed to sharing God's Word by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.

In this edition, we continue with our series on Biblical Perspectives on Prayer and Fasting. The topic for this study is: What is Prayer? There are several definitions of prayer in the religious world today. This is basically because prayer is one of the important acts of worship in the various religions of the world. Basically, prayer is a conscious act we undertake to unfold what is in the deepest recesses of our soul to our Maker. It is a two way communication with God. We do not come to God in prayer to only show Him our needs. We also come to Him in prayer so He will make His will clearly known unto us. God has established prayer for His children so that He can have an intimate relationship with them (see Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:1, 2). As we commune with our heavenly Father in prayer, He also communes with us in that stillness of solitary time. In as much as God delights to hear the voice of His children rise unto Him in earnest prayer, it is also His joy to return their sacred communication with Him by showing them His will in all things.

Prayer is all about developing a healthy relationship God. From the pen of inspiration, we read that "Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up Him" (SC 93.2). From this quote, it is clear how we should perceive prayer. God does not expect that we make our prayers to Him a one-sided affair. Even though He is the omnipotent Monarch of the universe, He still cherishes the relationship that He has with each of His little children. And so just as a friend will open the heart to another intimate friend, so does God expect us to communicate with Him. Even though we will come to Him formally as our God on all occasions in prayer, it is His desire that His divinity does not take away from the relationship that He wants to establish with us.

God wishes that besides the formal gestures of prayer that we offer Him, we can also build a trusting relationship with Him to the extent that we will be willing to turn to Him at all times and with all issues as we go through the hours of the day. He expects us to let go of ourselves into Him as a son will react towards a loving earthly father. Like the unconscious act of breathing, God expects that we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Through this text, God is calling each one of us into an intimate relationship with Himself. In other words, God expects us to develop a relationship with Him to the extent that our prayers will rise naturally unto Him just as we breathe without consciousness. This is the level of closeness that God desires to bring each of us unto Himself. Thus, as we go through each day, our hearts should always be opened up to heaven in prayer; where we will frequently lift up praise and thanksgiving, send requests and petitions, and also ask for direction from God in the several duties and pleasures of life.

Exhortation: From the pen of inspiration, we read the following in relation to prayer: i) "Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that life from God flows into our life; and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to God." -- (SC 97.2) ii) "There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God. There is nothing that can prevent us from lifting up our hearts in the spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God and plead for divine guidance, as did Nehemiah when he made his request before King Artaxerxes. A closet of communion may be found wherever we are. We should have the door of the heart open continually and our invitation going up that Jesus may come and abide as a heavenly guest in the soul." -- (SC 99.1) In our next study, we will consider the topic: What is the Importance of Prayer? The Bible Study references for this study are 2 Chronicles 7:14, Matthew 6:9, John 8:34-36, Acts 4:31-34, Matthew 7:7-11, James 4:7, Matthew 4:1, 2; Matthew 26:36-44, Luke 6:12, 13, 1 John 1:9, Matthew 17:14-21 and Luke 5:16. Please do well to go through these passages before the next study is released.

Stay blessed and keep shining for King Jesus.


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