Prayer: Talking and Listening to God
PRAYER IS NOT A TECHNIQUE. It is a relationship. It is not about trying to persuade a reluctant God to do something, or to use perfect words to win God over.
Prayer is a friendship with many different dimensions. It starts with the ordinary, instinctive reactions to everyday life.
Prayer is taking those instincts of gratitude, wonder, need and sorrow and laying them out before God. Prayer like any good relationship needs time. The rule is start small, stay natural be honest!
PRAYER AS RELATIONSHIP:
Just getting on with it: we are secure in the knowledge that God is with us always.
Chatting: ordinary interaction through the day, arrow prayers when something arises, praying as we walk, drive the car, go for a run, or indoors doing the housework.
Intimacy: in deep relationships we get beyond words. Silence, symbols and Holy Communion help us deepen our relationship with God.
WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT PRAYER?
When the first followers asked Jesus to teach them to pray, his response was to teach them a simple pattern of prayer, which is known as “The Lord’s Prayer’ or the ‘Our Father”.
In the Lord’s Prayer we are given 6 areas of focus, the first three focusing on God (presence, praise, purpose), and the last three on our need (provision, pardon, protection).
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.
Jesus also reminds his friends that they do not need to use long prayers. God knows our need before we ask!
Different personality types pray differently!
Prayer can seem like an introvert activity and as so many people are extroverts, different approaches are needed. For some people loving action is prayer, some people prefer to pray in groups, others use silence, others use set prayers. Some pray in the morning, others at night. What suits you?
Praying with children.
Children learn to pray by seeing you pray and by doing it with you. You can help them by saying a simple grace before meals; a prayer as they go to bed; teach them the Lord’s Prayer; encourage them to pray with you in church; give them a book of simple prayers.
Prayer is not just about us!
Just as important relationships are enriched by engagement with other people, so looking outwards enriches our prayers. Praying for the world and other people is really important, to ensure that our prayers do not become self-centred.