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Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to bring your request before God.

At its most basic, prayer is communication. Perhaps more accurately, prayer is an act of communion in which we present ourselves to God just as we are. The very words communion and communication denote that there is interaction. Prayer is not a one-way street, comprised only of what we find to say to God. In fact, God initiates the conversation. In prayer we find ourselves first listening to God, then responding to what God has said to us.


You also might think of prayer as paying attention to God. Having an attitude of alertness to the presence of God, not only in formal periods of prayer or in times of corporate worship, but in the way we live all of life, is a way of prayer that often is neglected. There are those who believe that growth in the life of prayer means enlarging our capacity to pay attention to God in all areas of our lives.
 
There are any number of ways to pray. Some seem more natural for certain individuals, and other ways seem right to others. And most of us find that as our praying lives evolve through the years so do our own ways of communing with God. Rarely does a person’s prayer remain the same for a lifetime.
 
Some people, then, gravitate more to intercessory prayer; that is, praying for the needs of others. Such pray-ers bring requests to God for the well-being of others. They intercede on behalf of others. Other persons feel a first impulse to praise God, bringing their uplifted hearts into the presence of God in adoration. Still others are drawn to simple conversation with God, bringing their thoughts and actions to God continually. Then there are those who are drawn to more contemplative prayer forms. These persons find God’s presence most deeply experienced in silence and listening. They prepare themselves to receive from God, using prayer forms such as centering prayer to enter into communion with God. There are those who use the Scriptures for prayer, hearing in God’s Word an initiating word to which they are then invited to respond. Prayer forms such as lectio divina and meditation on Scripture enable such persons to hear God then respond with their praying lives. Some use a breath prayer, keeping some short petition (perhaps a phrase from Scripture) on their heart and mind through all the activities of the day. And there are other forms of prayer, to be sure. The most important thing about prayer is not the form or method you use, but that you do it, that you stick with it, and that you allow God to work in and through your life for his purposes in the world.
 

Those who are beginning in prayer often find it helpful to pray in the Psalms. The Psalms of the Old Testament are the Bible’s prayer book. They express a full range of human circumstances and emotion. It can be helpful to pray through some Psalms. Note how the pray-ers in the Psalms bring themselves just as they are to God . . . sometimes in praise, sometimes in intercession, sometimes with anger in their hearts, and sometimes in deep need of forgiveness. 

-   Jerry Webber

 

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