What is Prayer?
What IS prayer?
Take a survey among Christians and ask that question, you will probably get many wrong answers. Some might say, "Prayer is asking God to do what you want." Others might say, "Prayer is what you do when you are sitting in church," sort of like a religious thing. 45 hears ago I read a book titled "Asking and Receiving" by a well known pastor and it was the least favorable book on prayer I ever read. Yet the saddest answer of all is this: "Prayer? What's the use of praying. I don't have time, anyway, the times I have tried to pray, God didn't answer."
Even unbelievers, know about prayer but do Christians -- those who confess their faith in Christ -- do they really know what prayer is? You might feel that's a silly question to ask, but we're going to see if we knew what real prayer is, we wouldn't be living the way we do.
Are you a Part Time Christian or a Full-Time Christian?
There are many Christians who do have a growing relationship with God. Jesus Christ is their life. But let's bring this down to practical experience. What does it mean for Jesus Christ to BE our life? Well, one of the best scriptures to point to is found in Acts 17:
For in Him we live, and move, and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
Do you see it? Go back again and re-read the verse and notice how there is NO ROOM in this verse for Jesus Christ being separated FROM any aspect of our life. This is Christianity 101. If we have surrendered ourselves to Jesus Christ, He is our Lord. We belong to Him. Every part of us.
The Bible says this in more than one way. One of the best pictures is that of baptism. Paul says,
"Do you not know that as many of you that were baptised into Christ......."
Baptism is a total submersion INTO water. You are covered up and out of sight. So, if you are "baptised into Christ" there's no part of you which is outside of Him, in the same way, there's no part of you out of the water in baptism.
Paul, the apostle, makes this even more clear in his epistle to the Colossians. He tells that church that Christ is indeed their LIFE.
Colossians 3:1-5 (VOICE Translation) 1 So it comes down to this: since you have been raised with the Anointed One, the Liberating King, set your mind on heaven above. The Anointed is there, seated at God’s right hand. 2 Stay focused on what’s above, not on earthly things, 3 because your old life is dead and gone. Your new life is now hidden, enmeshed with the Anointed who is in God. 4 On that day when the Anointed One—who is our very life—is revealed, you will be revealed with Him in glory! 5 So kill your earthly impulses: loose sex, impure actions, unbridled sensuality, wicked thoughts, and greed (which is essentially idolatry).
Christianity is not religion. It is not a mode of conduct, a list of rules to follow, or even keeping moral rules. Christianity is a new birth not in theory, and not just "positionally." But really. Christianity is devotion to a PERSON, Jesus Christ.
If I am "in Christ," I have passed from death to life, meaning now I belong to God. And this touches me deeply in every way possible, how could it not? I am a new creation in
You say, "this is all wonderful and everything but how does this have to do with prayer? Everything. Since we are in Christ, we live, and move, and have our being, which points us to the conclusion that for a thriving and growing Christian, PRAYER is something in which we live, and move, and have our being. To say it another way, PRAYER is FELLOWSHIP and COMMUNION with God. It is oneness with God Himself through His Son.
When you see this, PRAYER will never be the same old way again. To realize what you are doing when you pray - being IN COMMUNION with God Himself. You are in contact with the very God of heaven. What could be more breath taking and awesome!
Our oneness with Jesus Christ is not part-time. NO. It's settled, we are either IN HIM or we are not. It is all or nothing. ALL THE TIME -- or NEVER.
Prayer is not part-time, it's continual and without ceasing. The reason we often don't think of prayer like that is that most of us have been taught that the only time we are "really praying" is when we are on our knees with our hands folded or when we pray in the morning when we have a 5-minute prayer devotional. But according to the Word of God prayer should be going on all the time in us.
The reality of continual prayer is all through the New Testament. It is, in fact, seen to be normal for someone in Christ, that we almost miss it.
Pray without ceasing. (I Thes. 5:17) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. (Eph.6:18) Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made withoutceasing of the church unto God for him. (Acts 12:5) That without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. (Romans 1:9)
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you inour prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in thesight of God and our Father. (I Thes. 1:2-3) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing. (I Thes. 2:13) That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day. (II Tim. 1:3)
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. (Col. 1:3) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4)
What is prayer? Prayer is communion with God. The outcome of being in communion with God and the result is that you discern His mind and His heart. Communion with God enables you and me to know how to walk with Him in faith and obedience, and as a result to grow into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.