Mar 01, 2010 by Bruce Demarest | 0 Comments
We often equate prayer with bearing up our and others’ needs and requests to God. But prayer that feeds the soul and that brings about positive results is a much richer reality. Since God knows our needs, there is truth in Reformer John Calvin’s acknowledgment that “God ordained prayer not for His sake but for ours.”
Consider the following threefold approach to prayer. Effective prayer first of all is entered by composure. The soul that is distracted and anxious finds it difficult to connect with God. One way of quieting heart and mind is by reciting quietly the powerful name of the Lord Jesus. Secondly, effective prayer is experienced as communion. Here we push into God’s presence and engage him heart to heart. This aspect of prayer powerfully renews the one who prays. Finally, prayer is expressed as conversation. We listen attentively to God’s gentle Spirit and respond with confession, praise and adoration.
The late Norwegian author, Ole Halesby, wrote: “Prayer is an attitude of our hearts to God. As such it finds expression, at times in words and at times without words, precisely as when two people love each other. In the soul’s fellowship with God in prayer, there are things which can and should be formulated in words. But there are things for which we can find no words.” C. S. Lewis likewise commended holistic prayer. “Petition, asking for things, is a small part of prayer. Confession, and petition are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence, vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In prayer God shows Himself to us.”