The prayer is the communication channel via which we not only connect with God but by which our inner spiritual eyes and ears open to hear and see from God. Prayer is not a one-direction, but a two-direction channel. God encourages us to be watchful in prayer and to be constant. When we live with the constant consciousness of God’s presence, we can communicate at any time. Not only to speak to God but to talk with God. To give us time and calm us down to hear and receive from Him.
Focus and framework of prayer
God encourages us to raise our hearts and our voice to Him at all times with all prayers and requests. God is interested in the smallest detail in our lives, in the least concern and worry. Not only does He care, but He also enjoys answering our prayers. Thus He shows His perfect care and intimate knowledge of each of us.
There is no formula for prayer because it is the personal communication of each one with God. The more we develop our relationship with God and our knowledge of His personality and character, the more our communication with Him is improved. On the one hand, the themes of our conversations change as the focus shifts from satisfying personal needs and desires (from the “I want” model) to the discovery and perception of God’s purposes and desires for us. On the other hand, our ability and capacity to hear, understand and perceive from God grows.
Jesus was asked by his disciples how to pray. In response, He gave a short prayer as an example, the so-called Lord’s prayer. (Matthew 6: 9-13) This prayer reveals some basic principles that rather concern the motives of our hearts. It also gives us the framework of successful communication with God. This is the frame of humility and dependence on Him. It is the attitude that acknowledges God as God by saying, “Not my will but Yours, not my kingdom but Yours!” This is a relationship of honor, love, and awe to God as a Father seeking to glorify and sanctify His name.
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Principles of the prayer life
In the same 6th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord Jesus Christ gives us some important principles and instructions on the prayer life.
The prayer is not a religious, demonstrative activity for the people. God hates and does not tolerate hypocrisy. Because He knows at all times what we think, feel and what we will say, there is no point in coming to Him with learned words and formulas. God wants us to be real and transparent with Him. He calls us to intimate, genuine communication with Him, the fruits of which will be apparent and visible. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
The second instruction concerns the empty words and verbosity. Not the many and clever-formulated words are what triggers God’s heart. The sincerity, humility and acknowledging Him as God, as the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Almighty, the only one Who fully deserves our tribute, praise, and awe – this is what triggers God’s response. A heart that says, “I need you!“ and which decides to trust in God is what triggers God. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:7-13)
The third instruction refers to forgiveness. The refusal to forgive is a great obstacle to our prayers. Since God shows us mercy and forgives and accepts us in Christ, He expects the same from us. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mathew 6:14-15)
God’s encouragement and promise are that He hears us and gives us what is in harmony with His will. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
What is His will? This is first of all eternal life and reconciliation with Him through Jesus Christ, peace, joy and power, satisfaction, righteous life. These are all aspects of God’s salvation. God’s will is to restore our souls and bodies, and all creation. It is for establishing God’s order and government in the world, for the reign of good, righteousness, and justice. God is on the side of love and life.
What are your thoughts about prayer? What makes it difficult for you to pray? Share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you!