One of the central aspects of religious expression is prayer. But what do you believe about prayer? The practice is radically different for a Christian than it is for a Moslem. Since I am Christian, and assumedly so is my audience, I want to help you think about prayer for the Christian.
I often describe prayer as talking with God. Conversation or communication is an important part of any relationship, and since our salvation is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, our prayers become important in keeping the relationship strong.
Set times for praying are not necessary, but they do have some strong benefits. If you set a habit of praying when you wake up, praying for meals, and praying in personal worship, these prayers will anchor you to the habit of prayer and help you to remember to pray when things come up through the day.
Prayers can be prescribed, but I feel more comfortable with spontaneous prayers. This is because less is communicated of the one praying when they are not speaking from their own heart, thoughts and ideas.
Prayers will change the world. I am always amazed when I hear individuals who say God has it all planned out and nothing we do will ever change the plan. Scripture speaks of God redirecting history. Just because He already knows what is going to happen doesn’t mean He doesn’t take our prayers into account. After all, He also knew you would pray in advance.
God may choose to communicate back to the person praying as a result of their prayers. The intention behind this communication may be clearly understood immediately or it may come through later from Scripture, life experiences, or any other way God chooses.