Category Archives: Prayer is …

Prayer is … #2 Conversation

Prayer is a conversation, it is a two-way dialogue, not a one-way monologue.

You’re overstating it, you may say from looking at the previous sentence, but it is a point that cannot be overstated!  I could refer to places in the New Testament for this, but you may be surprised to know that this was well understood in the Old Testament.  Here are a few examples.

The example of Abraham.

Well there is Abraham for starters, ‘he was called a friend of God’ (James 2:23 NRSV), and what do friend do but talk with each other!  When he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah he was involved in a literal, physical conversation with God see Genesis 18:16-33, he was also bold enough to negotiate with God, but was wise enough to know where the limits were.

This is quite a challenge!  How much are we prepared to argue someone’s case before God?  Not for a Christian, but for a non-Christian to be saved!  After all, ‘The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9 NRSV).  We should not think that Jesus is slow in returning which is the context of this verse, but as with Sodom and Gomorrah, when he does there will be judgement, and by then all choices about eternal salvation will have been made.  Until then, let us be like Abraham praying for mercy and salvation, and wrestling in prayer for those who don’t know Jesus.

The example of Moses.

Moses is another great example of how prayer is a conversation, and again the best example we have of this from his story are when he was interceding on someone else’s behalf.  We see this in the time when Israel sinned by worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 33).

God was angry, the people he had brought out of Egypt had spiritually returned to Egypt by making and then worshipping an idol.  God was more than angry, he was going to destroy all of Israel except Moses and his family, and make a nation out from him alone.  But Moses stood up for the Israelites, not because they had not sinned, but for the sake of the patriarchs and because if God destroyed them all the Egyptians would have a cause to celebrate and say that God could not complete what he started!

The result of this pleading.  God ‘changed his mind’ (Exodus 32:14 NRSV) because Moses had asked him to, ‘Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people’ (Exodus 32:12 NRSV).  We may deserve God’s judgement, but if we humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face he can, and will, send revival (see 2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

Like Moses we can cause God to change his mind, or we can stand by, be fatalistic about it and see others perish.  Prayer is so powerful if we only grasp it, it is not just for the weak, and for old ladies (though it is for them also), in fact to pray like Moses did takes both strength and humility, and comes first of all out of a close relationship with God.

Are we, like Moses, prepared to lay down something that could be to our advantage, to see God’s kingdom advance?  What a challenge!

Prophets, priests and kings.

I could give other examples, when the nation of Israel came to together to pray, it was the prophets, priests and kings who would pray.  Why?  Because these were the people who would not just speak to God, but who could listen to God’s reply!

Under the New Covenant we are all prophets, priests and kings so this responsiblity of prayer and intercession now falls on us, and we can fulfil that task because we can have a conversations with God!

Lord Jesus, help us to learn to listen as well as talk when we pray, because only then can we pray and intercede effectively for those who don’t know you.  Help us to take up the challenge, and to lay down our agendas for the sake of others to build your Kingdom.  In your name we pray, Amen!

Prayer is … #1 Adventure

Here goes our adventure into prayer.  So what is more natural than to start by saying that prayer is an adventure.  It is not just any adventure, but one into more of God.

For everyone prayer is a journey.  I shall share some of my prayer journey, my prayer adventure, in this post.  Why because you may be able to connect with my story in this post, and it will help you all to get to know me a bit better.

My prayer adventure started as a child, like most children I was taught to pray with hands together and eyes closed, prayer was a formality there was nothing real about it.  Now here’s a thought, to pray with hands together and eyes closed is not in the Bible at all, so should we pray like that or teach our children to pray like that?  I’ll look at that more in another post sometime!

When I was at university, I started being interested in the things of God, I thought I was a Christian because I had nominally been brought up that way, but in fact I wasn’t.  Prayer was interesting, I prayed formally in chapel and less formally in the Anglican Christian Union, then I started going along to NCCF (New College Christian Fellowship) and here I experienced prayer that really connected with God for the first time, this had me extremely interested!

When one of my friends asked me if I would like to go to a half-night of prayer they were having, I jumped at it!  Here there was prayer, worship and some teaching all combined.  People prayed in different ways for different things, including praying out loud together (all at the same time) in tongues or English.  This spoke to me, I knew that their unknown languages were from God, and that their prayer in general that evening was somehow connecting with God in a big way.

I became a Christian when I was baptised in the Holy Spirit like Cornelius in Acts 10, now prayer became real to me, as it was based in a relationship with God.  I got things wrong at times, but I also saw prayer answered as we prayed together for people to be healed of things, and they were healed.

I soon got involved in a church prayer meetings, prayer meetings with para-church organisations, and spent time praying alone with God.  I read books on prayer which I brought from Canaan bookshop where I was working on Saturdays.

Some of the books I read included,

  • Rees Howells, Intercessor, Norman Grubb;
  • Learning the Joy of Prayer, Larry Lee;
  • Prayer the Key to Revival, Paul Yonggi Cho.

I went to a prayer conference in 1991 (I think) praying for London as a financial centre for it to be shaken which it has been substantially since then.  On the second day we prayer walked, the group I was in for the Bank of England, and we prayed for finance to be released for the Kingdom of God, and God gave a sign to us (a 5p piece) that he would.

After university, I got married and life and prayer continued, sometimes prayer was easy and sometimes it was hard.  But about 2001 I fell in and for quite some time all my prayer were tears and asking the question ‘Why?’, which I never got an answer for, but despite that I held onto one thing.  That God would never abandon mr like the Father had to abandon Jesus on the cross and turn his face away because of my sin.  God healed me over about 1 1/2 years after I was given a prophetic word that he would heal me.

Since then God has grown me a great deal, to where I am now.  I fought with him in prayer like Jacob at the ford of the Jabbok (see Day 4. Practice – Wrestling With God – When Intimacy Gets Personal).

Where am I now?  God is calling me to lead prayer, and to grow churches in prayer, both in its depth and breadth, and helping to restore prayer to the place it should have in this land.  Why?  To see revival and this nation restored to God!  To God alone be the glory! Amen!

What is your prayer journey like?  Do you see it as an adventure?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Prayer is …

What is prayer?

Prayer is so simple, yet there are so many facets to it.  So, we shall be exploring what ‘Prayer is…’ in this series of posts.

The aim of this series will be to help you think about what prayer is, about how we relate to God in prayer, and about what prayer means to each of us.

As I get older I am able to reflect more on prayer.  In some cases, I consciously understand things I used to take for granted, in other cases, there are new things that I am discovering about prayer.  All these thoughts and musing I will share here.

Here are a few examples of things that ‘Prayer is…’, that I will explore:

  • Prayer is … Conversation;
  • Prayer is … Worship;
  • Prayer is … Intercession;
  • Prayer is … Liturgy.

I will look at many more things, and if you have any ideas of things about prayer you would like me to explore then please leave your suggestions in a comment on this post.

What does prayer mean to you?  Has your conception of prayer changed over time?  Are you growing in prayer or are you stuck in a rut?  Let’s look forward to growing in the adventure that is PRAYER!