WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is responding to God’s ceaseless outpouring of love and concern for us; a response to His prior love.
It is keeping in touch; communicating with the one who we love and to whom we owe gratitude; Him who provides guidance and strength and whatever else is needed for life. It is speaking and listening to Him; offering Him our mind and heart;
HOW DO WE PRAY?
By thought, by feeling and by deeds, with or without words. Words [written or spoken] are not needed, however a form of words is often helpful to cover more accurately the intention. The important thing to remember is that even when prayer is vocal there must also be action. According to James Kennedy [1997:34], praying actually begins when, by God’s help, we begin to live out the intention of the words in a new life, reconciled to our neighbors, following the commandments of God, and walking more nearly in his unselfish ways. Only then will “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.”
Jesus gave His disciples the Lord’s Prayer as an example of the substance, meaning and technique of Christian prayer. From this we learn that the principal acts of prayer are:- adoration , praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, petition, meditation, and contemplation.
ADORATION: the lifting of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to gaze steadily upon God’s presence.
PRAISE: we praise God not to obtain anything, but because of God’s Being [what He is in Himself] and God’s actions [what He does].
THANKSGIVING: we offer thanksgiving to God for all the blessings of this life, for our redemption, and for whatever draws us closer to God.
PENITENCE: we confess our sins and make restitution where possible, asking forgiveness with the intention to amend our lives.
OBLATION: the offering to God ourselves, our lives and our work in union with Christ.
INTERCESSION: bringing before God the needs of others.
PETITION: presenting our own needs to God, asking that God’s will be done
MEDITATION: with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, focus our minds on a portion of scripture, or some truth or experience, ponder it in our hearts and resolve to give expression in our lives to what we learned.
CONTEMPLATION: keep our hearts and mind still and attentive to God, allowing Him to work in us as He wills through the indwelling Spirit.
Continuous prayer promotes love, patience, courage and zeal.
God grant us grace to continue in prayer.
Rev. Yvette Mitchell Bagnall