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Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is prayer?

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

For anyone who has put his or her faith in Jesus Christ, prayer is "communion with God." Through the cross of Jesus, the barriers to a relationship with God our Father were removed. When we begin to trust God and turn from our sin, He comes into our lives to begin a new relationship of love with us (Romans 8:9-10; John 14:23; Revelation 3:20; 2 Corinthians 13:5). Through prayer we actually experience a relationship with God, and the quality of our prayer life correspondingly determines the quality of our relationship with God.

Prayer is talking with God.

Prayer is listening to God.

Prayer is enjoying the presence of God.

Prayer is not simply saying words or repeating religious formulas. Jesus warned His disciples not to make meaningless repetitions of words when we pray (Matthew 6:7). There is a lot of what gives the appearance of prayer that never reaches God. For example, "The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself" (Luke 18:11). Perhaps the reason was that "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable" (Proverbs 28:9).

God is looking for heartfelt relationship. Our faith and love toward God will lead us to recognize His presence with us, to talk with Him, to listen to Him, to sense Him. This is prayer. We express our thanks, our faith, our love, our hopes with God in prayer, and we receive from Him answers, assurance, guidance, peace, strength, power, revelation of who He is and what He wants to do (Matthew 7:7-8; John 16:13; Philippians 4:6-7; Ephesians 1:17-18).

The late E. Stanley Jones, missionary and preacher, wrote:

"Prayer...is the opening of a channel from my emptiness into His fullness."

You just read an excerpt from the book A Time for Prayer. This book is filled with prayers and thoughts that will encourage you and help you to intercede for the world around you.

A Time for Prayer is a great devotional resource, and makes a wonderful gift. For more information, or to look inside the book, click here.

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