This is a companion piece to my blog on theHeartSeekerblog.wordpress.com…
I don’t often take the time to “breakdown” Bible words in my posts (most folks really aren’t that interested in the details), but I think that such a practice can be very beneficial from time to time – especially concerning the key practices of the Christian faith.
We all tend to “gloss over” the things that are common to us. “We know what we are doing – why bother to waste time wondering if we are doing it right!”
But, we can get so caught up in the form (various forms!) of prayer… and miss the vital importance of it’s function.
But what is the function of prayer? It’s not just to talk to God. It is far more than that. Prayer is real communication between two (or more!) persons – AND One of those Persons is the Almighty Creator of the universe!
Here’s where looking closely at the word for “prayer” can be helpful. The word in the New Testament is a compound word (two separate words connected together). The first of the compounds means “to move actively forward (with implied connection/interaction).” It’s an act of the will to begin a conversation with someone with whom you desire to speak.
The second part of the word has to do with “exchanging wishes or requests.” I emphasize the exchange because true prayer is never one-sided – true prayer is always an exchange of thoughts, ideas, and (especially) desires.
The important part in this, is that God also desires to move towards us and exchange His thoughts, ideas, and desires with us. This IS prayer.
A perfect example of this concept of prayer is the record of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. We know the story… Jesus is about to be betrayed and go through the horrific ordeal of the cross.
Rather than fret and worry about it… He goes directly to the Father in prayer. Remember what He prayed? Basically: “Father, here’s what I want (this cup of immense suffering to pass from Me).” But I hear what You want (“Go, suffer and die for all of mankind, so that they can be Mine.”)
In the end, of course, we know that Jesus took His want and tossed it aside in favor of what the Father wanted. The conversation led to an exchange – and a decision… to yield to the will of the Father.
Ultimately, prayer is finding out what God wants (in conversational exchange) and yielding to His will.
When we pray, we all need to understand that God desires to speak with us as well – to share His wants with us, so that we can be an active participant in bringing what He wants to this earth.