Christianity 101 - Chapter 5
The Bible calls communicating with God, prayer. It is filled with hundreds of verses about prayer and the people who prayed them.
Many people think that prayer is some type of state of mind or exercise that has to be filled with ceremony and ritual however in all honesty, the Bible teaches that basic prayer is simply communication with God.
In this chapter I hope to show you that prayer is meant to be the way that we build our relationship with God and develop a friendship with God that becomes one of the most treasured experiences we as believers can have in this life.
Jesus, when He gave us what is commonly called the Lord's prayer, started the prayer with these words. "Our Father in heaven". This statement has huge implications in our basic prayer life.
To be able to start off a prayer with the designation of familial connection and relationship turns prayer from something that is done to an impersonal and uncaring God to one of talking to somebody who loves us and wants to see the best for us in our lives.
It takes the communication from one of formality to one of intimacy. You are no longer talking to a supreme being but instead talking to a loved and loving relative.
The Bible teaches that God wants us to have that type of close intimacy with Him. In fact it is the whole reason that He sent Jesus to die on the cross. He wanted to make a way that people like you and I can have a one on one relationship with Him.
The father made a way for His children to come and sit on His lap and relate to Him. That relationship can only be started and continued through Jesus.
So if you have not started that real and personal relationship with God then I suggest you do so now by praying your first relational prayer and ask Jesus to come and be your savior and Lord and take up residence in your heart.
You can go to peacewithgod.net to learn more about starting that relationship with God.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
When we pray we are not just hoping for something to happen. We are not engaging in our last ditch effort to get something to go right. We are engaging in something that has great power to change circumstances and situations and mold our world.
God has chosen the 2 way communication between Him and us to release power in this world to change it for the better.
Why He has chosen to partner with us in this great endeavor is beyond my comprehension but all throughout the Bible God has chosen to wait until His people pray for His intervention before He moves to change things.
When we pray and sincerely pour our hearts out to God, He moves on behalf of His people.
Prayer does things like cause people to be healed, sets them free from bondage and addictions, turns back spiritual darkness in a community, and draws people to come into a relationship with Jesus just to name a few of the things that can happen when people pray.
When we pray, not only does it effect what we are praying about, but it effects us.
In the same manner that when we hang around people with a foreign accent for any length of time we start to pick up that accent in our own speech, when we spend time relating to God in prayer we pick up His heart and values. We end up being changed.
It is during our times of prayer that our own heart is changed so that those people we are enemies with no longer are enemies and those people we struggle forgiving get forgiven.
Because God turned His enemies into relatives, those that were unforgiven into the forgiven. When we pray God changes us! We take on His nature. That is the power of true relational prayer. It not only changes the world but it changes us!
Take a moment, right now, as you finish reading this chapter on communicating with God and put into practice what you have learned.
Stop for a moment, and just start having a conversation with your heavenly Father. Start sharing with your "Dad" what is on your heart.
Don't try to figure out some formula but instead have a conversation, an honest one, including the things that you think might not please Him. Talk to God about your problems.
He is bigger than your fears, your failures, and the things that you don't want to admit. He knows them anyways so go ahead and have a real conversation with Him about it.
Take off the religious mask and get real with Him. When you learn to just pray basic prayers, it will change you and change your world.
Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.
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