What is Prayer?

The greatest of all men, the Lord Jesus Christ himself felt the urgent need for prayer. That ought to be sufficient indication in itself that we are fooling ourselves if we think we can survive without prayer.

Prayer is communication with God and therefore to be a reality it requires:
  • that it be addressed to a God who exists
  • that it be a conscious and meaningful communication from the person who is praying, (not words or sounds repeated parrot fashion)
  • that God hears the prayer.

History, right up to our own time, is full of examples of people praying to Gods who do not exist. Most of these people live out their lives without ever realising that they are talking into a telephone that is not connected to anything.

The church-goer who chants a prayer while thinking about other things might just as well not bother. The only God who exists, warns us that He will not hear the prayer of the proud and arrogant or the willfully rebellious.

When a humble person sincerely calls to God, we have His word that he hears. This is prayer.

When God hears, He answers, and sometimes the answer is "Yes". Peter's fellow disciples did not want him to be killed in prison and were praying to God for him. Read what happened to him in Acts 12:5-17.

Sometimes the answer is "No". Paul had a health problem which worried him. He asked God to cure him. He asked God three times. For details, see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

How will you know what the answer to your prayer is? Take a careful look, it probably won't be answered the way you hoped for. But there will be an answer. Take a few steps back and look at the situation.

The time will come in your life (it may have already come) when you will be desperate enough to pray -- would it not be a good idea to get to know God before that time? Why not pray now? Jesus told us how to pray, in the "Lord's Prayer" found in Matthew 6:5-15

It is a lot easier to pray to someone you know well, Jesus said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30, NIV 

Jesus is inviting us to get to know him. The way to do this is to read the Bible, and accept it's message.

This article was written by Graeme G. He can be contacted at
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