At the home group I attend, we have been discussing prayer. As we began to unpack prayer, a different perspective of prayer has opened up for me. These perspectives are not actually ‘new’ but rather a deeper understanding of what prayer is about. As we discuss these ‘new’ perspectives, I will be speaking from a New Covenant perspective. It would be useful then always to bear in mind the following:

  1. We are no longer servants but sons and daughters.
  2. Because we are sons and daughters we have an intimate Father not a distant God.
  3. Our sins past, present and future are forgiven and our Father sees us as righteous because of the work of Jesus.
  4. Because we cannot be perfect in this world we will still miss the mark (sin) because of our brokenness but our ‘sin’ does not separate us from our relationship with the Father.

So what is prayer?

Prayer has often been described as a discourse with our Heavenly Father. We can say it is a conversation. The important part of all conversations is that there is talking and listening. It is the listening part of that conversation that we often miss. We need to recognise that the Father can and does speak to us in many different ways, such as through a Bible verse, a spontaneous thought, a dream, a word of prophecy, through a picture etc., and this may happen at any time of the day or night. We should realise that this hearing Abba speak to us is a part of prayer. Now we may begin to have a bigger understanding of the scripture that exhorts us to pray without coming to a close.[1]

Prayer is a continual conversation of talking and listening. As with all our relationships there will also be periods when there is no conversation. But as with all our relationships these periods of silence do not mean that they are not there or no longer interested in us. Rather there is our continual readiness to engage in conversation no matter what we are doing. There will be times of deep conversation where we will go to a quite place for a period of time, where we will commune at a deep level. Also there will be times when we could talk, chat, request or call for assistance during our day. The key, I believe is to understand that prayer moves beyond just our specific ‘prayer time’ into a 24-hour relationship that has communication as its foundation.

Lastly, why do we pray?

Most people only pray when they have or see a need. I don’t think that should be our reason for prayer. I believe our reason for prayer should be founded in love. Praying out of relationship is fundamental. Secondly Abba Father has a better view of life than we do. Scripture tells us we don’t know everything but only see part of the story and what we do see is back to front[2]. Abba Father can see our pitfalls and therefore can guide us so that we are successful. With that understanding I realise I need Abba’s guidance every moment of the day.

For me, prayer is not an optional extra to being a believer but a vital necessity to be able to live life. And it happens 24/7.

More next week!

[1] 1Thessalonians 5:17

[2] 1Corinthians 13:12