Prayer is at the very heart of the Christian life because God has planted it within us.
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a Christian but from time to time, you have found yourself praying? Have you ever prayed to God in a time of crisis? Have you ever found yourself rejoicing at the wonder of life and felt your spirits raise? These are all signs of the prayer.
Prayer is the most amazing gift that God has given humanity. It is our ability to communicate with Him and for Him to communicate with us. Scripture, reason and experience shows us that we aren’t alone and faith, in the believer, confirms that.
So how do we pray? How should we pray?
Well there is no one answer to how one should pray. St John of Damascus writing in late antiquity says:
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God. Or the requesting of good things from God.”
The church actually teaches us that prayer is first and foremost God’s gift to us but it is also a wonderful example of the co-operation of God and humanity. God inspires us to pray and we respond by saying “yes, God” allowing ourselves to open up before God and letting our hearts cry out to him.
There is literally nothing you cannot share with God. He knows all the secrets of our hearts. The saints often got angry with God, therefore you must not try and hide anything from him. When you pray, talk to him and ask him for help and support. You might want to use your imagination, use a formal written prayer, or just talk to him. The most important thing about prayer is not how you pray but that you pray. Little and often is best.
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray like this:
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer as it is known is a wonderful prayer to learn by heart for it also teaches us how to pray in every circumstance. Jesus permits us to call God “Our Father” which shows us that God is close to us. He is not distant – he is a loving Father to us, his adopted sons and daughters.