On the surface, prayer may seem like one of those things that most Christians, shoot, even religious people, can agree on. It’s taken as foundational— a part of the basic fabric that holds together our Christian culture. Children are taught prayer is important and before meal times we all bow our heads and talk to God. No one will tell you prayer is not important, yet, if we are being honest, it seems that even this foundational principle of the Christian faith is a lost “art”.
What is prayer? Are we talking to God… like really? If God is sovereign doesn’t he already know what is going to happen? What’s the point of prayer then? How much do we need to pray? Is there a right or wrong way to pray?
How many times have we told a friend, “I’ll be praying!” as a comfort but then forgotten to follow up on the promise? Maybe it’s because there is something in us that questions if prayer really works.
If you couldn’t tell already, we are about to dive into the spiritual discipline of prayer and unpack ALL of these questions and more, because it’s time we had a real conversation about these questions we’re all thinking but think they’re too taboo to ask.
Here’s our starting line though: Prayer works. Prayer is where God tunes our hearts to His own.
Richard Foster tells us, “To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.” Prayer recognizes there is spiritual warfare and that we serve a God who is near to us and alive. Prayer requires radical faithfulness and asks us to engage in this world. When we commit to prayer we declare that God has indeed given us a place in the throne room and we use it— We plead with God like Esther. We argue with God like Moses. We bargain with God like Abraham. We remind God of His promises like the prophets.
But here is the thing no one is talking about: Prayer is something to be learned, not something we just recite or check off our list. We’re encouraged again by Richard Foster, “It was liberating to me to understand that prayer involved a learning process. I was set free to question, to experiment, even to fail, for I knew I was learning.
Prayer is a language that comes in different dialects— The Prayer of Guidance, Prophetic Prayer, The Prayer of Forgiveness, Prayer of Intercession, Prayer of Command, and Contemplative Prayer— diverse and complex, allowing us to engage with our God and His power in distinct ways. It’s time we become fluent in ALL of these, and celebrate being taught how to pray again, without defensiveness or a temptation to prove our worth. We’re determined to create the space to do just that. Will you join us? We're going deep into this topic starting next week on our podcast, Let's Riot! Haven't checked it out yet? Subscribe and tune in!