No one writes anything in isolation. I’ve read a lot about prayer from highly respected authors whom I’m sure are also influenced by the 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 (not meaning God-breathed) didn’t stop when the first Bible was printed.
If the Holy Spirit no longer led men and women to write, that would mean that the Charles Spurgeons, the D.L. Moodys, the Dallas Willards, and the Richard Fosters of this world were not inspired and that no author since then has been. No one would believe that, correct? I doubt if any of us would read their books if we didn’t think they were inspired in some way.
Don’t most of us think the pastors of our church are inspired?
From my personal experience, I know I work hard at making sure what I write is consistent with what is my understanding of the Bible. I also make sure I’ve done my research to the best of my ability.
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. And, of course, 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. Have you ever thought about that?)
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 at times as it is for me.
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 simple 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’ve replaced the concept of God’s Holiness with the concept of God’s love as those they didn’t co-exist.)
I am very honest in my prayers with God. I don’t edit my words nor my feelings but at the same time, I always remember that I am in the presence of a Holy being. Focusing on the holiness of God is very reassuring to me and not the least bit frightening.
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 to just remember we are in the presence of a Holy God.
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 to him with a penitent prayer.
There is no right or wrong way to pray and I would think that 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 have become more simple. Having been 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 use those words when talking to anyone else so why do I think it makes me sound more “holy” to use those words when talking to God?
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 fewer words. Using more words doesn’t make me a better prayer. It just makes me a “longer” prayer-er.
Is there a right or wrong posture?
Of course not.
There’s no right or wrong way to posture oneself when praying.
But as we grow in faith, we become aware that there are certain prayers that seem to call for certain postures. For example, prayers during an emergency or crisis might find a person on their knees, prostrate on the floor, or standing up with outstretched arms.
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 because the situation required it. If I make every situation an emergency, I’m just probably buying into drama that isn’t necessary. And I’m quite sure I’ll be facedown again some time anyway.
I pray with my eyes closed. My husband keeps his eyes open. I pray out loud. He prays silently.
I recommend trying to pray out loud. You would be surprised at what you learn about yourself when you hear yourself praying for certain people and circumstances. There’s no hiding your heart’s real position when you hear your own words and inflections.
There are as many ways to pray as there are people. As long as one’s heart is in the right place, God is good with it. The main thing to know about prayer is simply this:
Just show up!!!!
God bless and have a great day.
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