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Prayer Is Communication

Patricia Jones
Faith columnist

 


Prayer is communication with God. It’s a time to thank him, petition him, get directions from him, or to just “check-in” with him. There are many self-help articles and studies on how to be more effective communicators so I thought I should apply some of these to my communication with God. The following are some of the insights I found and would like to share with you today:

First, pray from your heart. Offer up your gratitude or hurts to God in a sincere manner.

Second, pray for others, including your leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-8) and pray for the big issues so change can come.



Third, make time to pray. During prayer you gain insight on your directions and your connection to God and you renew your spiritual energy, too.

Fourth, cultivate a habit to pray. Spontaneous prayers as well as planned times of prayer are both important. It can be any time of day, but make a conscious effort to develop the habit.



Fifth, prayer is the connection to the miracles that only our infinite God can provide (1 Kings 18 and Acts 28:8).

So, since prayer is my communication time with God, should I approach it as a monologue or a dialogue? In a monologue one person does all of the talking. In a dialogue there is a give-and-take conversation where one person talks and then allows time for another to respond. In a monologue prayer, you would perhaps bring a mixed list of praises, needs, and grievances to God, say, “Amen,” and then go about your day. You expect Him to deal with the list and you’ll check in later.

In a conversation you may bring the same list of praises, needs, or grievances but you pause and take time to listen for an answer or reply from God. Answers can, of course, come in a variety of ways like a “small still voice” or a thought or a sudden insight or new perspective on a problem, but the answers come in a relatively short time.

I believe communicating by prayer is a combination of both. Some mornings are rushed, and I have a short time to dash off immediate prayers to God, while other days I have the time to pray and meditate and wait for the dialogue to continue. It takes patience to have a dialogue prayer, but they are my favorite because I walk away comforted and refreshed.

This is the final topic I addressed in my ponderings about prayer: Does this communication with God depend on the bodily position I take when praying?

Biblical instances of all postures can be found. For example, Hannah prayed while standing (1 Sam. 1:26). People prayed while lying down (Ps. 4:4). Ezekiel prayed face-down (Ezekiel 9:8), and Paul prayed on his knees (Eph. 3:14). C.S. Lewis had his character Screwtape explain that praying on our knees helps us remember to be humble toward God, but in other writings Lewis supported a view that kneeling or raising your hands in prayer is a way to help our bodies worship God. (A very interesting article on this was written by Joe Rigney, “C.S. Lewis and the Role of the Physical Body in Prayer” published on April 23, 2018).

So now I am sure that praying in any position that doesn’t interfere with others (don’t lay on the floor in a crowded room) or safety (don’t close your eyes while driving) is fine.

However, the biggest take-away from my study was found in the Bible. The most important understanding I gained wasn’t about the style I use or what position I take or even if I follow the five insights I mentioned at first. The most important things is this, “Never stop praying” (1 Thess. 5:17, NIV).


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