What? Prayer is communion with God through communication with God.
“Prayer, perhaps more than any other activity, is the concrete expression of the fact that we are invited into a relationship with God. Prayer is “talking with God about what we are doing together,” as Dallas Willard puts it. In addition to all the other work that gets done through prayer, perhaps the greatest work of all is the knitting of the human heart together with the heart of God.”
Varieties of Prayer I Timothy 2:1-2 – “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Who? To the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.
To the Father Matthew 6:9-15 – “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name...’” Luke 22:42 – “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 23:34 – “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”
Through the Son John 14:13-14 – “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 16:23-24 – “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
In the Spirit Ephesians 6:18 – “…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Jude 1:20 – “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit…” Romans 8:26 – “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
“The Holy Spirit tells us what we ought to pray for. Apart from the Spirit’s assistance, our prayers are limited by our own reason and intuition. But with the Holy Spirit’s help they become informed by Heaven. As we seek the Spirit’s help, He will speak to us through His Word, which conveys His mind regarding every matter of principle. Thus in Spirit-directed prayer we will think God’s thoughts after Him. His desires will become our desires, His motives our motives, His ends our ends… The second benefit of “praying in the Spirit” is that is supplies the energizing of the Holy Spirit for prayer, infusing tired, even infirm, bodies and elevated the depressed to pray with power and conviction for God’s work.”
In the Spirit I Corinthians 14:2, 14-15 – “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.... 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.”
When & Where? Always & Everywhere, Certain Times & Certain Places
Always & Everywhere I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Colossians 1:9 – “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…” Colossians 4:2 – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Certain Times & Certain Places Mark 1:35 – “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Matthew 6:5-15 – “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
How? Simple, focused, with your whole body.
Simple Prayers Matthew 6:6 – “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
“I am to pray for what concerns me, and many people have found prayer impossible because they thought they should only pray for wonderful but remote needs they actually had little or no interest in or even knowledge of. Prayer simply dies from efforts to pray about “good things” that honestly do not matter to us. The way to get to meaningful prayer for those good things is to start by praying for what we are truly interested in. The circles of our interests will inevitably grow in the largeness of God’s love.”
Why? To grow in God & participate with God.
“God wants us to pray because prayer expresses our trust in God and is a means whereby our trust in him can increase…God as our Creator delights in being trusted by us as his creatures, for an attitude of dependence is most appropriate to the Creator/creature relationship…Prayer brings us into deeper fellowship with God, and he loves us and delights in our fellowship with him…in prayer God allows us as creatures to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the kingdom and thus gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image.”
Prayer is Effective James 5:13-16 – “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”