A better understanding of prayer can help us be great communicators; for prayer is conversation with God. When Jesus taught about prayer (recorded in his famous Sermon on the Mount), he said:
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Several key thoughts emerge from this single statement on prayer:
The most revolutionary thought is that prayer is a relationship. It is talking to your Father in heaven. It is not that God does not know what you need. That is not the reason why Jesus encouraged those who heard him to pray. It is because God delights to hear his children speak to him because that is the most natural way of expressing a relationship. The Father in heaven is near and approachable when his children come to him in prayer.
The second thought is that prayer is spending time alone with God. This happens only when there is love between man and God. For those in a love relationship do not mind spending time with each other, however long hours it takes. Unfortunately the common thought is that prayer is some kind of burden when you put on a long face. But God promises joy to his children in his presence when they spend time with him in prayer.
Another thought is that Jesus encouraged people to talk directly to their Father in heaven. He said to “go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” The focus is on you and God; all alone:
What a picture this is! Can you imagine the privilege to have God as your audience? What will you speak? Yes, in the secret place of your talking with God, you can be honest with him. It is here that you open your heart and let God know of all your fears, doubts, anxieties, worries, temptations and expectations.
And imagine again the truth that you need no one else’s help to pray. Jesus said that you can approach God directly in prayer. What a privilege this is! Nothing is said about perfect grammar, right pronunciation or a particular language to pray. Even a broken heart too burdened to say words is accepted by God as genuine prayer. What a comfort this is!
Then there is the promise of reward. One way of seeing reward is how God teaches us humility and dependence on him in prayer. He refines our character and makes us better by helping us wait for the answers he has kept for us. This is the toughest part for it goes directly against the tech savvy “I want it and I want it now” generation. But in the waiting process, the praying man or woman is changed to be a better person; and that is definitely one reward of prayer.
Let me conclude with one final thought. There is a great promise on prayer in the Bible which says: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” The invitation to pray is God’s. His promise that he’ll answer your prayers is true. And there are things unknown to us that God will show us when we pray. What more do you want to ask for?
Bible quotes (NIV): Matthew 6:6, Jeremiah 33:3