No one writes anything in isolation. I’ve read a lot about prayer from highly respected author whom I’m sure are also influenced by books they read. Some of the authors that I continually re-digest are, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Phillip Yancey, Andrew Murray, Priscilla Shirer, Charles Spurgeon, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyers…..
While God spoke to us in Scripture, He continues to speak through His servants. While authors of Scripture were divinely inspired, writers today are inspired as well, albeit differently.
The Holy Spirit continues to speak and influence. Divine inspiration didn’t stop when the first Bible was printed. If it had, that would mean that the Charles Spurgeons, the D.L. Moodys, the Dallas Willards, the Richard Fosters of this world were NOT inspired and that no author since then has been. I doubt if any of us would read their books if we didn’t think they were inspired in some way.
From my personal perspective, I know I work hard at making sure what I write is consistent with what is my studied understanding of the Bible and God. A prayer I continually pray is that when I write about spiritual issues, I write what I feel God has put on my heart, in other words, what I feel the Holy Spirit has revealed to me. I make sure it’s consistent with what scripture teaches as well.
Enlightenment didn’t end after the Bible was compiled.
(I’ve often wondered if the Bible were to be written today, what authors might be included).
As I’m writing about prayer, I say to myself, “Leave it alone. Prayer is a huge subject”. But I can’t leave it alone because I’m guessing that prayer is as elusive and perplexing for you as it is for me at times.
So what really is prayer? Is it complicated? is there a right or wrong way to pray? Is there a “right” posture? I don’t know if I will answer these questions to your satisfaction but I have answered them somewhat to mine.
What is prayer?
In its purest form, prayer is communication between God and man.
Between God and me.
Between God and you.
Between a mortal man and an eternal, holy God. (I include this last statement not to scare anyone but because I feel the subject of God’s holiness has been found lacking lately. We replaced holiness with love as those the one has nothing to do with the other.)
I am very honest in my prayers with God. I don’t edit my words but at the same time, I always remember that I am in the presence of a Holy entity.For me, this is reassuring.
I don’t want God to be my “buddy” or the “man upstairs”. I never refer to God or about God in this demeaning manner, whether in prayer or in any conversation. Again, I’m not suggesting at all that we need to mince our words or approach God in any way that isn’t totally authentic. But I want to be respectful as well. I think we can even express our anger as long as we remember it’s a Holy God to whom we are talking.
Is prayer complicated?
God accepts the most simple of prayers by the most simple of believing people. He also accepts the artful prayer of the most experienced. He accepts the prayer of a non-believer when they call out Him in penitent prayer.
There is no right or wrong way to pray but most Christians who have had a long history with God find their prayers changing as they’ve learned more about prayer.
Mine have certainly changed.
I find my prayers to be simpler. After being a Christian my entire adult life, it would seem it would be just the opposite. But I’ve learned I don’t have to make my prayers long or elaborate sounding. I don’t have to use the words “Thee”, and “Thou”. I mean I don’t talk that way to anyone so why do I think it makes me sound more “holy” to use those words?
My prayers have become shorter.
That’s right. Shorter.
Why is that?
First of all, I’m never done praying. It’s a continuous act.
Secondly, the more concise I get, the fewer words I use. If I’m staying in touch with people, if I’m paying attention, I find my prayers are more spot-on thus requiring few words. Using more words doesn’t make me a better prayer. It just makes me a “longer” prayer-er.
Of course not. There’s no right or wrong way. But as one grows in faith, one becomes aware that there are certain prayers that seem to call for certain postures.
Beth Moore, author, and Bible study teacher has said that at times she lays prostrate on the floor when her prayers are desperate. I have only done that once and while I see no problem with it, I don’t feel compelled to make it a regular practice.
God bless and have a great day.
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