Knowing God Through Prayer
KNOWING GOD THROUGH PRAYER
There is one practice in the Christian life that many Christians struggle with: prayer. Think about it this way: many Christians want to pray to God but feel frustrated speaking to a person they cannot see with their eyes, hear with their ears, or touch with their hands. Why then should we pray?
Prayer is essential to the Christian life because it is our direct communication with God. As we practice prayer we will discover three unshakable truths:
- God sees us from our innermost hearts
- He hears and gives attention to our heartfelt requests, and
- He touches our lives through his Holy SpiritWhen we engage in prayer we do more than speak to God. We are in the process of learning to see, hear, and touch him in unique and satisfying ways.How does the Christian pray? Are there rules to prayer? How long must I pray? Are there certain things I must always pray for? How can I know when God is speaking to me instead of just me speaking to him? Prayer is the means whereby even the prophets of old spoke to God and learned how to hear his voice.
This study will serve as a beginner’s guideline to prayer and how to experience God’s love through the regular practice of prayer. We will also look at what prayer is not so that we don’t confuse it with practices from false religions.
WHAT PRAYER IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT Read: Matthew 6:5-13; Luke 22:40-42
Prayer is nothing more than having a conversation with God.
How do you communicate to your family or friends? You simply talk with them. You share your life with them. Prayer, in one sense, is no different. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God about the things that are on your heart. What is on your heart? Talk to Jesus about that right now.
Prayer is a means whereby God transforms us so that our will and his will come together.
Even Jesus prayed for his Father’s will instead of his own. Prayer is not a way to get things from God. Prayer is more than asking God for things. When we spend time in prayer and think about his Word our desires begin to transform over time to be more like his.
What do you want from your life? Make a short list of the five things in life you desire the most. Now make a list of the five things you think God wants from your life. Compare them. How can these things be brought together?
Prayer is not a talisman, charm, formula, chanting, or an exercise in magic or divination. Prayer is spiritual conversation. (Matthew 6:7)
Because prayer is an expression within religion, many people see prayer in one of these ways. But as we’ve seen, genuine prayer that God responds to is a conversation with God. He is a person. We are persons. People communicate. Treating prayer like one of these things takes away from the simplicity of talking with God.
Do you treat prayer like on of these things? Begin turning from that by having a short conversation with God right now.
Read: Matthew 6:9-13; Ephesians 6:18; I Thessalonians 5:17-18
Have a conversation with God about your life and interests.
Matthew 6:9-13 is the perfect guide to use for prayer. Notice that it combines God’s interests with our interests. As you consider this passage you will see how it reflects your needs.
As you read each verse, take a moment to pray to God about it. For instance, when reading verse 11, apply this to all of the things in life that you need and talk to God about. Do this for each verse.
Have a conversation with God about his life and interests.
Look at the prayer again and notice where God’s interests are mentioned in verses 9 and 10. Pray through these verses. Read verse 9 then pray through different things you can thank God for. Our relationship with God deepens as we engage in this practice.
What kinds of things can you thank God for as represented is verse 9 and 10? Make a list and pray a prayer of thanks to God for them.
Engage in prayer regularly to get to know God better.
(Ephesians 6:18; I Thessalonians 5:17-18)
The Bible encourages us to pray and think thoughts toward God continually. This does not mean at every waking moment we are praying. Rather, it means to turn to God throughout our day and bring our concerns, thanks, and praises to him. As we do this we will begin to sense and understand the things that please God.
Some people make an appointment with God for prayer. Some pray in the mornings, some in the evenings, and some a various times throughout the day. What time can you give God in regular payer?
POWER THROUGH PRAYER
Read: Romans 8:14-16; Ephesians 1:15-18; Philippians 4:6-7
Our lives will change when we bring our concerns to God.
As we become accustomed to talking with God and become sensitive to his leading, we will experience a change in our innermost desires. Instead of being concerned for only ourselves we will become more concerned with the things of God.
How has God begun to change your desires through prayer? As you spend more time in prayer, how have your prayers changed?
We will become more interested in God’s will the more we seek God in prayer.
Prayer is one of the ways in which we get to know God’s will. As we learn more about his character and his promises, and acknowledge them in prayer, our hearts will turn more and more toward God with a great desire to know him intimately.
What parts of God’s will or his character interest you the most? Talk to God about those things. What do you seem to be learning?
Those who regularly and continually seek God in prayer will be more in touch with God and will experience a vibrant relationship with him.
Imagine you had a friend with whom you rarely talked. You would not know that person very well, would you? But if you met with that person regularly your relationship would deepen. So it is the same when we pray to Jesus and let his Word speak to us.
Do you want a close relationship with God? Spend time with him in prayer.