Prayer is the foundation of our relationship with God
Prayer is giving our attention to God.There is no ‘hidden secret’ when it comes to prayer. God is always alongside us and ready to listen. Anyone can pray, at any time and in any place. Why not begin now?
I find that prayer is first and foremost about presence – purposefully and mindfully putting ourselves in God’s presence, with all that concerns us, as well as all that we are grateful for; to find a special place, or a special time when we can look outside ourselves and sense ‘the other’, the creator, the Spirit of life, the one we call God.
Having a special place to pray might help. Or light a candle as you start. Maybe listen to some quiet, meditative music. And then sit quietly in God’s presence. Speak as you are able and listen out for God speaking to you.
What the Bible says about Prayer
Quite a lot as it happens! – It doesn’t tell us to be on our best behaviour, or mind our P’s and Q’s, rather we are invited to speak with God, ‘as with a friend’ (Exodus 33 v11) just as Moses did. Prayer is about honesty, authenticity and just telling God how it is – good, bad, dull, scary, joyful; absolutely everything.
The Bible is full of prayers, especially the psalms; they are the heartfelt cries of the people. They reflect every emotion; psalms of praise (e.g. 150) psalms of honesty (139), psalms of thanks (135, 23), psalms of despair (22, 120); sometimes they give us words when our own words seem hard to come by.
The bible asks us to enter that deep relationship with God whereby we can treat him as friend and life long companion.
What Jesus says about Prayer
Jesus took prayer seriously. He is frequently depicted as leaving the crowds or disciples and taking himself off to a quiet place, or even the wilderness that surrounds the cities to find space to pray. (Mark 1v35, Matt 14v23) We too may have a quiet space to think and pray – in our gardens, at the kitchen sink, in the bath even.
Jesus’ life is built on a deep personal relationship with his Father, and prayer is the cornerstone. We are invited to make prayer the cornerstone of our lives too.
We may need to find a time of day to suit us; maybe early in the morning, on the way to work, maybe at the end of the day to reflect on what was good, where we noticed God, where we ignored God. Jesus shows us that time and space are important; but above all prayer is a deep relationship, where we are open and honest with God, and where we find peace.
The Lord’s Prayer
It is a source of great comfort to those of us who sometime struggle with prayer to know that the Disciples struggled too! They asked Jesus how to pray – they saw that deep relationship between Christ and his Father, and they saw how their own relationship with God was lacking so they asked for help. Jesus’ response is what we call the Lord’s Prayer.
You can use the words of the Lord’s Prayer as a starting point, to share your own hopes, anxieties, doubts and faith with God:
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 debts,
as we forgive those who have debts 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.
Jesus broke all the rules of his time and told us we can call God Father or even Dad. This intimacy was revolutionary – and still is. We are to pray also for ‘Thy Kingdom to come’ – we want Earth to become as Heaven (and we are to work for this too). We know we get it wrong and we need forgiveness, and indeed to believe that we ourselves are forgiven; and we need help to forgive others. And we need to praise God and know that his Kingdom is the one we pray for and the one we need – always. Forever. Amen.
‘Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.’ Ephesians 6.18
One method of prayer and bible study is called Lectio Divina. To find out more about it and contemplative prayer click on the buttons below. Or how to pray contemplatively at the end of the day using the Examen.
We will hopefully develop this page in the days ahead and find further places for you to look to help deepen your prayer life and the corporate prayer life of our congregation. Talk to Stephen if you have any thoughts or ideas.
To help you as you pray
To find out more about Christian meditation click on the button and check out the rest of this website.