Prayer has been defined as talking to God. I offer a slightly different take—prayer is communicating with God. Prayer is a conversation, a two-way street where you must listen as well as speak. It accords with scripture that we should want to make our wishes known to God. It is equally essential that God’s wishes be made known to us.
How well this information transitions between us and God is indicative of the health of our relationship. If you have not found this true of your interpersonal relationships, you have not been paying attention. Straighten this out in your relationship with the divine and it will come right in the human ones.
There’s an old saying that “Prayer changes things.” Experimentation proves it to be true, and the thing it changes most is the person doing the praying. Paul wrote that the road to personal transformation begins in our own minds. Slicing a section from the limited minutes of your day and setting it aside to communicate with God in prayer is the kindling of the fires of transformation.
This is not easily accomplished—ask anyone who has seriously tried it. This exercise in self disciple will knock you down and kick your behind daily until, like the abled phoenix, you learn to rise from the ashes. Never plan to pray tomorrow. Start today and start over again every single day you must.
It is a good idea to set aside the same time each day for prayer. As soon as you do, that time will come under attack by every device known to man and devil. That is no reason to surrender. God loves persistence.
I told you prayer can sustain you when the other disciples are lacking for some reason. Divine direction for living can come through study of the scriptures and meditation, but prayer is the most direct means. In the heat of battle, time and circumstance are favorable for prayer, but not necessarily for meditation or study.
When you lack the material resources to give, you can still provide the comfort of prayer. Prayer reaches across space and time while other means cannot. As a nurse, I found a few occasions where I had to remind people that while desire moves at the speed of thought, physical aid brought by others must travel through space and time to reach them.
Some have told me that sounds callous to say. Perhaps, but it is honest and reminds us that the lives of others are more real than we can sometimes imagine, which is a valuable lesson is learning how prayer works. Speaking of the reality of people.
If prayer is our personal communication with God, we shall do it personally. Saying an Our Father or Hail Mary, repeating the Twenty-third Psalm or The Lord’s Prayer, is fine for focusing thought, but this is not prayer. It is not our personal communication spoken from our heart and spirit. Neither is having someone pray for us unless we are praying ourselves.
Prayer demands our thoughts, our words, our heart, soul, and spirit. It is not the same as sending thoughts or positive vibrations—it is a request for divine audience for ourselves. If you are sending a card, Hallmark may be the very best. If you are praying, only your personal presence and request will do.