What is Prayer?

Prayer is essentially a personal communion and a loving communication with god.  As we mature in our Christian life, we will find that prayer is an expression of a personal, all-encompassing, intimate and constant relationship with God.

I have a son, his name is Josh.  When he was just a year and a half old, he already called me mama and hugged and smiled at me.   To him, that was how he expressed his need of me and his desire to be close to me.   He didn't know yet what a mother was, but he knew I was his mama.

It is the same between us and God.  we can't fully comprehend the Godhead, but we can still know that God is our abba, daddy.

Now the obvious, natural expression of this closeness to God is to spend time with Him, to waste time with Him.

God is absolutely amazing in that we can talk to Him about anything.  What concerns us concerns God because He loves us.   When I was young, I used to pray about lost ballpens.  as I grew older, I was so used to talking to God about the trivialities of my life that I was confident God was interested in my pimples, crushes, and even my dandruff.  His love is all-encompassing.  We can be ourselves with him, with all our weaknesses and idiosyncracies.

I remember feeling guilty when I was younger about travelling to foreign countries when there were so many people starving in my own country, the Philippines.  I prayed about this when I was in Australia.   After visiting shopping centers, museums, zoos in Melbourne, I asked God where he wanted me to go.  I sensed he wanted me to visit a garden, He said, "Take time to smell the flowers."   My mom and I set off to find one and we reached the Royal Botanic Gardens  and a lady came up and asked us if we were joining the walking tour.  We said yes and she showed us the paper bark tree which the aborigines used to wrap their babies in.   After a while she stopped in front of a plant with dainty pink flowers, the luculia gratissima and suggested we smell it!  Right then and there God said to me, "This is exactly where I want you to be."  It was God's personal reassurance that I was at the right place at the right time.

So God speaks to us today.  He speaks to us directly, or through other means. Which brings me to the more important part of prayer: Listening.  Prayer is a two way street.  It is not only that we talk to God.  The party with the more important things to say should be the one to talk more.   But isn't it with God we just keep talking?

If we don't hear God talking, it is not because He is silent but because too often we are not silent.   God speaks in a "still, small voice" (1 Kings 19:12).   But we live too much with background music: TV, radio, traffic, etc.

Many people are afraid of silence.  In primitive societies, they used to drive away evil spirits with noisemakers.  Today, it seems we are driving away God's voice with noise.  Many people are afraid of hearing God because deep down we know that allowing the word of God to touch us will upset many aspects of our life- it will require change for us, renewal and obedience.

Paul tells the Roman church (12:2) to let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of mind.  This is frightening because it threatens all that is secure and customary in our life.


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