What is Christian Prayer?
- What is Prayer?
- Why do Christians pray?
- This post explores these and other questions.
- Christian prayer is an act of Communion and Fellowship with the Christian God.
- It provides a basis for relationship with the Christian God.
- And, it provides a basis for continuing reinforcement of our experience with the Christian God.
The Christian and her God
In the following examples, the child = the Christian; the dad = the Christian God.
- Prayer is a child asking her dad for something she needs or wants.
- It is a child asking her dad for something her friend or sibling needs or wants.
- It is a child saying "I love you" to her dad.
- It is a child expressing gratitude to her dad, for his care and love for her.
- It is a child expressing "I am just happy to be near you; I am happy to just be with you; just to feel your presence with me" to her dad.
- It is a child running to her dad when she is hurt, and he comforts her.
- It is a child running to her dad when she has done something she wants her dad to see and admire.
- It is a child who wants her dad to be with her as she takes new steps in life; her first baseball game; her first concert; her wedding...
- It is a child who runs to her dad for advice, when she has tough moral choices to make.
- It is a child who runs to her dad for advice, when she has other morally-neutral choices to make.
- And, it is a Christian expressing gratitude to her God, for his care and love for her.
- And, it is a Christian saying "I love you" to her God.
From one viewpoint, prayer isn't really necessary.
- So, we could conceive of God as benevolent Father, whose kids never approach him for anything, but he takes care of all of their needs.
- A lot of his care for humans is indeed like this (called General Grace -- God blesses both Christians and non-Christians via his General Grace -- for instance, he makes it rain on both the good and the evil, and thus provides sustenance etc)...
- Part of my relationship with God is like this... where he provides for my needs, without my asking.
However prayer is essential for relationship with God.
- Just as a child approaches her dad for some special request for herself ("may I have an ice-cream") or for her friend ("May I have an icre-cream for my friend Jessica"), and the act of her asking and the act of dad responding to her request and providing the icecream... contribute to relationship between dad and child...
- Same thing with God and us...
Regarding prayer, God has set up the following system.
- I am to pray for myself, for me to develop relationship with the Christian God.
- I am to pray for other Christians, who ask for prayer, and this will contribute to developing relationship between me and my Christian siblings.
- Other Christians pray for me, when I ask them for prayer, and this contributes to developing relationship between me and my Christian siblings.
- And Christians are to pray for non-Christians, particularly for those who ask for prayer, and this is likely to contribute to developing relationshipp between the Christians and their non-Christian neighbors or friends...
- And if such non-Christians freely choose to come to Christ, they have already been introduced to the concept of praying for themselves, for other Christians, and for other non-Christians.
God has provided other guidance for prayer.
- I am not to test him (once I am convinced of his reality, which I am).
- The prayers are to be for genuine needs.
- The prayers are to be within the broad guidelines of his Will expressed in Scripture.
- Just as a dad can choose to provide his daughter the ice-cream she requested, or can choose to decide not to provide her the ice-cream (possibly dietary restriction etc), God reserves the right to provide the specific answer we requested or not...
- The over-riding purpose of our existence on earth is training in boot-camp, to develop our character, to make us like Jesus Christ. Any prayer that will detract from this purpose is likely to be answered with a No.
God is a PERSON, not a PHENOMENON.
- God is a PERSON, not a PHENOMENON.
- A phenomenon (consequence of natural law) has no option, but come through each time we set up an experiment. Actually this is not true of all phenomena, but for the sake of Empiricists, we shall assume this to be true.
- However, God, is a person, and he knows the motives of our hearts, and so he can choose to come through for one person, but not for another, based on their motives.
So what motives does God require from us, for him to respond to us?
- We are to seek him in Humility, Sincerity and Perseverance.
- When we seek him with these, he promises to draw near to him and to reveal himself to us.
I was a practical-atheist.
- I chose to take God up on his promise.
- I sought him with humility, sincerity and perseverance.
- And as I sought him over a period of 3 or more years, he revealed himself to me...
- and so much so, that I am as convinced of his reality as I am that I exist.
Grace and Peace to you
- Wishing you Peace and Joy through Jesus Christ.