That’s a synonym of prayer. There’s a little ‘twist” that becomes evident when a person uses a lens to view what praying really means. I am not attempting to give anyone reading, a “universal” definition of prayer, because I also don’t believe one exists. If it does, it is enormously questionable. If anyone attempted to define it, it would be equal to making an attempt to define parameters of intimate relationships, placing a standardization on it. Who does that!
Indeed, there are many resources, books, and all, that have attempted to bring insights on prayer. I would recommend Philip Yancey’s book on Prayer. I found such great insights on the subject. By principal, let place great value on what Jesus spoke on prayer; a model of prayer; Matthew 6 becomes our reference;
“Whenever you pray, be sincere and not like the pretenders who love the attention they receive while praying before others in the meetings and on street corners. Believe me, they’ve already received in full their reward.” – Here Christ was teaching us to check our motives at the onset of prayer. This was more like a heart check. I realize we sometimes pray for others out of compassion but also, there are those moments our hearts act out on their nature of being desperately wicked, and its why, we have to get it right in the heart, because out of our hears flows the issue of life. Our hearts need a check, our motives need to be probed and our pride charts need to be reviewed, or else we will find ourselves praying in the Luke 18 perspective, that was made by the religious leader. Proudly pious with a chip on his shoulders, and he really went all out with his “righteous” profile – Such was not a prayer, not a perspective, but pride and rags. Then there was the despised tax collector within the same temple, broken before God, remorseful of his wayward ways and choices, repentant and humble. It is he that was made right with God. These two parable stars had a different perspective in their approach to talking with God. Entitlement if I may, warn us, closes us out from receiving the grace of God.
“But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God, praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly”. Here is a deeper call into intimacy with God. How do we get to “shut doors” and have an encounter with God every day? Can we get to close out all the distractions and pay attention to the supernatural world? We can. It never gets easier. It is possible. It is intentional, its a discipline, Its a practice, its a passion, a habit, its a relationship…Its a place we all grow into, but the heart must want. Then, I came to understand, there is a reward(s) in this practice
“When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like those who don’t know God, for they expect God to hear them because of their many words. There is no need to imitate them since your Father already knows what you need before you ask him”. To talk to a God who already knows your thoughts and needs, live! He knows what’s trending with you, he has your hair count, he knows you more than you know yourself, yet you have to “take time off” these life and live events of your life, to engage in conversation. It really does seem incomprehensible. He invites us to himself through grace where we find each other. Relationship
See “prayer is not a means of removing the unknown and unpredictable elements in life, but rather a way of including the unknown and unpredictable in the outworking of the grace of God in our lives” – Philip Yancey. When we pray “May your will (God) be done, here on earth as it is in heaven..” we realize that his will is enclosed in his word, the scriptures that are alive and active. His will is not a mystery as it sometimes looks like. His will for you and I is not elusive at all. Its when we read the word of God that we can articulate ourselves into an understanding of his ways. Let me illustrate; We have a need for healing in our bodies. Since we know that he has healed before many many many times as was demonstrated by Christ in his ministry, we then understand that he intends to heal – thus his will. So when we pray with this understanding that we are asking for healing from God, it becomes a faith perspective
So we come boldly and confidently with all our asks including this one of healing. We believe in his ability to do so and hold onto this persuasion. That already becomes a prayer of faith, which in James 5: 15 is willfully made evident. Here is what, when we pray, we are simply coming into an enclosed intimate space to gain perspective of God’s will, plan, and direction, among other things in God, that am yet to discover, is in the riches of his glory.
He prompts us to come boldly and confident to his throne; no protocols. Yet we have made for ourselves symbolic items and agendas in approaching his throne of mercy to obtain Grace. So I found this light of insight in his invite; if I am coming to God to seek Mercy and Grace to face life, how is it that we “suit up” to talk to God. If you lost hope and are distraught and at your end (a position that most times send us into prayer) why would you need to put a facade to talk to your father yet the content of your heart is known to him.
We go to his presence in prayer so weak, so graceless, so broken, so angry, so distraught, so confused, so betrayed, so guilty, yet he calls us his righteous ones, like we always are, even with our vile tongues and hearts that are wicked. He loves us so that we don’t need a pass to approach his throne, the holiest thrones that will ever be. He made Jesus the pass, so don’t “suit up”, just get in and get perspective of you and him and the intricate, infinite depth of your relationship with him.
“And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.” I always see this as a disclaimer. The conditions of being forgiven are hinged on our ability to extend mercy to those that offend us. Simple. Not only is this a disclaimer but such a grand benefit on a personal level. When we don’t forgive, we carry an offense. That’s excess baggage, and we know that comes with a cost. Unforgiveness is and can become such a hindrance that stops our lives from progressing so much so that even our physical bodies suffer collateral damage through it. It is that same throne of Mercy and Grace that we find the ability to extend mercy and pardon to others, no, you don’t have a human ability to forgive, it’s the grace of God at play.
It is in prayer that we get the perspectives of our life’s challenges. We talk to God and he talks to us. We approached the throne, oh so hopeless and he comforts us, he responds to our needs, the good shepherd he is. We enter prayer rooms, angry, weak, guilty as crimson and when we come out, God’s power and purpose become the only thing that comes afloat. The issues that were, become submerged into his power, quashed into non-existence.
Finally, your perspective of who God is plays a major role in how and what your prayer becomes. I find that even for myself, I may approach God as a friend, sometimes my father, sometimes the only most revered being I desire to become vulnerable to and at times, an enemy. We don’t have to get into any legalistic perspectives to enter his throne, that is always wide open, we come in just as we may be, it is how we come out that counts for hope and grace.
Jesus spent a great chunk of his time here on earth praying, and he ultimately accomplished the “work” that God had laid out for him. Am convinced if it were not for his prayer-filled life, the odds would have been different in the garden of Gethsemane.
Photograpy credits: Jordi Koalitic