What Is Prayer?
What comes to your mind when you think about prayer? Is it the passionate, vocal utterances of a man or woman on knees? Is it the muttered words of a man or woman bobbing back and forth like a rubber duck in a body of water? Is it the silent, concentrated picture of a reverent, religious person? Is it Jesus in the early morning hours escaping the crowds to spend time with His Father?
What comes to mind when you think about prayer is of the utmost importance to whether you understand prayer correctly and desire to participate in it.
Insert Andrew Murray
Few men have explained the richness of prayer like Andrew Murray. Rarely do I read a passage from him that I do not feel the urge to highlight. Here’s one such passage:
When eternal Love begat the Son, and the Father gave the Son as the second person a place next to himself as His equal and His counselor, there was a way opened for prayer and its influence in the very inmost life of God itself.
– Andrew Murray, “Teach Me To Pray”
Praying Through Jesus
I’ll be honest with you (not that I’m usually dishonest with you!), I’ve never truly grasped the whole “in Jesus’ name, amen” thing. I just thought it was kind of the religious thing to do. Reading through Andrew Murray’s book has opened my eyes to a new concept. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have a relationship.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
It’s not just God calling all of the shots. He acts within the counsel of the Trinity. So, praying in Jesus’ name is all about sending a message to the Father. The Father listens to the petitions of the Son!
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
No Arbitrary Prayers
By praying through Jesus, we bring our requests before God and enter into a dialogue. Through Jesus, we know that we have the Fathers attention. He sees us as pure through the redemptive blood of Jesus. Thus we can come before the Father with boldness and expect to see Him move on our behalf.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
If you’re like me, you’ve read that verse many times with the thought, “Anything? Surely He didn’t mean that!” But, as we begin to receive wisdom from God, we see that Jesus clearly meant this! But how?
What’s Your Motivation?
When we come to the Father through Jesus, we can (and should) expect answer to prayers when our motivation is to bring glory to the Father.
Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour ‘? But for this purpose I came to this hour. “Father, glorify Your name.”
This is clearly seen in the entirety of Jesus’ teachings and life. He quite openly commands us to do as He did, going to the Father and asking, knocking, and seeking. But a strong warning is in order.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
We must come to the Father, through Jesus, with the motivation of glorifying the Father, and we must come to Him in faith. We must trust in His ways, even when we are unsure of the details.
So, What Is Prayer?
I think prayer, in it’s simplest form is conversation with God. It’s a dialogue.
Can you imagine Jesus praying to the Father and never receiving an answer? Several times we see in the Gospel accounts that Jesus received a response from the Father…and so should we!
So, let me end where I began: What comes to your mind when you think about prayer?
I’d love to see your response. Leave a comment below to tell me what comes to your mind when you think about prayer.
Also published on Medium.