Updated: Mar 16
Prayer - what does it mean to you?
What do you do when you pray?
Where do you go? Is it a routine?
Or do you cry out to God throughout the day?
Prayer has long been associated with recital and in many churches prayers are memorised or read out by the vicar with responses with which the congregation reply.
Children traditionally knelt by their bedsides spieling off “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep” and mealtime graces are droned out of schoolchildren before lunch.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Prayer as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or another deity.” I would argue that this definition is flawed. We don’t (or shouldn’t) just say please and thank you!
Jesus taught us how to pray with The Lord’s Prayer and it has the perfect structure - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (easily remembered by the acronym ACTS).
But, what we must not forget is that it is not a one-way conversation. It is not a monologue or a soliloquy. If we want God to listen to us, we must actually listen to Him too.
It is quite a revelation when you actually realise this! If you pray before you go to sleep at night, you don’t give Him time to answer. Quite often you’re asleep before He has the chance to answer! (This is personal experience here, I admit it!) When we pray, we must leave time to listen to the Lord too, not just to do all the talking.
God speaks to us in many ways. Some people hear Him more tangibly than others. But if we never listen, we’ll never hear Him.
So I urge you today to keep your ears open when you pray. Leave pauses to listen. Don’t just ramble on without stopping to let God answer!