What is prayer?

Saying our prayers

Prayer is a two-way conversation - waiting on God as well as asking him for action. God speaks to us in different ways, which we might describe as “nudges from above”. It may be that as we pray a thought will occur to us, or we may see a picture in our imagination, remember a Bible verse or words from a song or hymn, or it may even be simply a feeling that God has spoken - difficult to put into words.

There are several simple ways of remembering what to pray for. One is SALT:

Sorry, Ask, Love (praise or worship), Thanks.

Prayer is:

- one of the best ways we’ve got of loving someone. We can’t do more for anyone than put them in the hands of a God who cares for them even more than we do.

- not a matter of persuading God to do the right thing. Rather, it’s taking hold of God’s desire to do the best thing - taking hold of his willingness, not overcoming his reluctance.

- not giving God any new ideas or introducing him to someone he doesn’t already know and love to bits! We simply put our love and care at God’s disposal.

- helps to open a situation more fully to God’s inexhaustible love.

- not usually answered simply by ‘yes or no’. Prayer is a conversation in a relationship. Prayer isn’t internet shopping!

- always ‘answered’ in the sense that all prayer is used by God in the best possible way. Our expression of desire in prayer may be misconceived, but our loving intention is what really matters, and God will be able to take and use that for his good purposes.

- not out of our own boundless insight and wisdom! We are promised that the Spirit of God will pray in us. That takes the pressure off a bit.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

for ever and ever.  Amen.