What Is Prayer?

Have you ever thought about what prayer really is? How would you define it? What makes it so important to you? If you look up prayer in a dictionary it says – “A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” This is obviously inaccurate, for we worship no one but God and we also are able to  pray for the well being or healing of others. In addition to that, the definition is missing other things such as adoration to God and confession that He is God. A good definition of prayer is found in the book “When You Pray” by Herman Hanko. He defines it as “…lovers’ talk, for it is a holy conversation between the living and eternal God and the redeemed child of God in which both speak to each other in the most intimate relationship of love.”

Imagine telling other people that you have a best friend or just a friend in general.  Then you get to school and you don’t even talk to that friend. That isn’t friendship. Friendship includes communication. If we are children of God we need to pray, we need to have that back and forth communication.

In our Catechism, Lord’s Day 45 Q&A 116 says that prayer is “…the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them.” This shows the importance of having prayer in our lives. Without it we are left with no comfort, assurance, or hope of salvation. But in prayer we can come before our Father with confidence and know that He is our Keeper and will never leave us nor forsake us (Proverbs 15:8, Isaiah 26:16, Mark 9:29).

Courtney Spronk


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