What is Prayer?

What is Prayer? by Elizabeth and Jim George

When you talk to yourself, it’s only a one-way conversation. You are just saying what you are thinking in your mind and your heart. But when you pray and talk to God, it’s a totally different story!

So, what is prayer?

Prayer Is an Act of Faith

If you have tried to pray, you probably agree that prayer can be difficult and feel awkward. Why is that? One reason is that you can’t see or touch the one you are praying to. Another reason is that you can’t and won’t hear any response to your prayers. It seems like you are just talking to the air. There you are, doing what appears to you or others to be talking to yourself.

But is that really true? You are, in reality, talking to God—to Someone who can actually hear you and help you with your problems and needs. Here is a verse that may be helpful. “Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

What does this verse say is the first thing you must do if you want God to hear your prayers?

Believe!

To believe means to have faith. It means you are confident that even though you cannot see God, He is real—He does exist. If you have faith that God exists, you can and are to sincerely seek Him. God knows you, loves you, and wants to hear from you. One way you can let Him know you love Him is to pray and ask Him for His help about everything in your life.

When we start to spend regular, daily time in prayer, we grow spiritually in a multitude of ways.

Prayer increases faith—I once had heard some advice about how to teach young children about faith in God by encouraging them to keep a prayer list. Like a child, I wrote out a prayer list in a special book and began taking my concerns to God each day. I was awed as, for the first time ever, I paid close attention to how He answered item after item.

Prayer provides a place to unload burdens—Problems and sorrows are facts of life (John 16:33). But armed with the call to cast all my cares and burdens on God in 1 Peter 5:7, I rolled up my sleeves and went to work forwarding my concerns to God in prayer. Soon it became natu­ral for me to start each day by giving all the cares of life to God in prayer, and I would rise up relieved, as if freed from many heavy weights. Author and pray-er Corrie ten Boom offers a vivid image of this privilege, “As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden, so kneel and let the Master take your burden.”

Prayer trains us not to panic—Jesus taught His disciples that we ought always to pray and not to lose heart (Luke 18:1). We are also told that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Turning to God for every need during regular daily prayer time ingrained in me the habit of prayer. Soon I was replacing my tendency to panic at the first hint of any problem with God’s nearness and strength. Cultivating a heart of prayer is a sure way to experi­ence God’s presence.

Start today!

RESPOND:

Dear God, I want to have faith in You even though I can’t see You or hear You. I do believe You exist, and I thank You for the gift of prayer. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES: 

In The Remarkable Prayers of the Bible, Jim George looks into the prayers of some great people in the Bible, sharing what we can learn from others who loved God and desired to follow Him wholeheartedly.

REFLECT:

Talk to a respected friend or to your pastor about God and prayer. Ask them any questions you might have about growing closer to God through prayer.

REMEMBER:

If you have faith that God exists, you can call out to Him in prayer. He promises to hear you and draw you close to Him!


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Jim and Elizabeth George

Jim and Elizabeth George are bestselling authors and national speakers dedicated to helping people live a life after God’s own heart. Together, they have written over 150 books with more than 14 million copies sold around the world. For over 35 years, the teachings and steadfast example of Elizabeth and Jim have helped countless men and women:

  • Simplify life by focusing on God’s priorities.
  • Appreciate God’s Word and apply it to everyday situations.
  • Respond to circumstances with confidence by seeing yourself through God’s loving eyes.
  • Increase closeness in marriage by serving and honoring each other.
  • Powerfully shape the hearts of children and teenagers.
  • Enjoy greater intimacy with God.

Learn more about Jim and Elizabeth George here.

Jim and Elizabeth George

Jim and Elizabeth George are bestselling authors and national speakers dedicated to helping people live a life after God’s own heart. Together, they have written over 150 books with more than 14 million copies sold around the world. For over 35 years, the teachings and steadfast example of Elizabeth and Jim have helped countless men and women:

  • Simplify life by focusing on God’s priorities.
  • Appreciate God’s Word and apply it to everyday situations.
  • Respond to circumstances with confidence by seeing yourself through God’s loving eyes.
  • Increase closeness in marriage by serving and honoring each other.
  • Powerfully shape the hearts of children and teenagers.
  • Enjoy greater intimacy with God.

Learn more about Jim and Elizabeth George here.


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