If “prayer is desire,” as one spiritual thinker has said, then everyone prays. Here in Indiana, as in many states, churches have prayer lists, prayer groups and prayer meetings. At my church, we have testimony meetings where people tell how their prayers have been answered. How about you? How do you pray? What prayers have you found to be most effective? My colleague, Moji Solanke, writing for the September 8, 2016 edition of The Guardian, takes prayer a step further and asks, WHY do we pray? She sheds some light on the question of prayer–what is it and what it does. Here’s Moji:
Prayer has been defined in several ways – desire, communication, intercession, travail, pleading, groaning in the spirit, a longing to be better and holier, and so on. Generally, in the religious sense, (as opposed to the legal sense of ‘praying the court’), praying involves communing with God or the Supreme Being, in some way. But why do we pray? And how does prayer benefit others and us?
We may pray for divine intervention in a human situation, such as relationships, employment, finance, illness and so on. Sometimes, we pray to express gratitude for some successful outcome. In some cases, we pray to inform or remind God about a problem. Then, there is pleading for forgiveness; asking Christ Jesus to come and dwell in the heart and so on. While there is no formula for praying aright, James 4:3 in the Bible enjoins us not to ask amiss.
As Christians, we can gain good guidance by following Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6: 6, which reveals that prayer involves being still mentally – listening for God’s direction, being aware of His ever-present power and unconditional love….