What is Prayer?

Prayer, at its heart, is an encounter with God

It can take many forms – contemplative, ecstatic, listening; silent/loud, sung/said, written/spontaneous; with tears/with shouts of joys, corporate/private. But at the heart of each is an encounter with the living God.

Through prayer we interact with the maker of the universe, the source of life, the one who controls all things. God has given us prayer as the primary way of relating to him. Prayer is the way we access and develop the primary relationship we were made for.
It's where we can find all our God given desires for intimacy, for comfort, for delight met.

You see it's because we – and the world at large – have lost the art and practise of prayer that we spend so much time and energy looking in other places to get those same desires met. Just think about our obsessions with adrenaline buzzes, exercise highs, sexual gratification, and the huge range of therapies on offer to meet our needs. None of these things are bad in themselves, but so often we're looking for them to provide what prayer was designed by God to do. An encounter with the living God can be exhilarating, fulfilling and deeply comforting.

It's not all about the experience – or how we sense prayer – but the fact is our prayer life is probably the best barometer we have for measuring the health of our relationship with God. A 19th century Scottish minister called Robert Murray McCheyne, once said "A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more." What did he mean by that? Once you strip away all the pretences, all the props and noise - and you're left alone before God, that's really who you are. That is the true measure of a person.

If our prayer is as dull as dishwater or non existent. – then the chances are that's how we think of and experience God.  But if even the thought of a prayer meeting fills you with expectancy and deep joy, then the chances are your relationship with God is alive and healthy. 

So how is your prayer life?

Why not pause to pray now?


In my next blog I'll explore why we're bad at prayer and how we can be good at it.

Join us at Christ Church over the summer for our series, 'Lessons in Prayer', at our morning and evening Sunday services.

Date     Theme
24 July Adoring - 'Father, hallowed be your name'
31 July Interceding - 'Your kingdom come'
7 August Wrestling - 'Your will be done'
14 August Asking  - 'Give us today our daily bread'
21 August Confessing - 'Forgive us our sins'
28 August Fighting - 'Deliver us from evil'

Tap here to find out more about our Sunday services.