Prayer is one of the most used universal instincts. Most people, at some point in their life, pray. In fact, a study by (ComRes) in (2018) found that a fifth of non-Christians will pray in a crisis.
Often prayer is uttered in response to a need. We often refer to any problem we prayed for being answered as a coincidence. But is it a coincidence? Or was God listening?
The crux of all of our relationships revolves around communication. Prayer is an example of that. It’s a practice when we stop and communicate with the creator of all things. It’s a space where we can lay all our fears, anxieties, and worries out and just be with God.
Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don't know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us….”
What does prayer do? Is prayer about solving our problems, or is it about changing our hearts and attitude?
Answers to prayer aren’t always about being in a place where there are no troubles or problems or hard work; it’s about being in the middle of those things and still having peace in your heart. That’s the peace of God. It’s like the deep ocean current when there are the winds and waves on the surface but stillness underneath.
However, prayer not only changes us, but it also changes situations. Of course, you can’t prove the existence of God by answers to prayer. But it’s amazing what happens when we pray.
Does God always answer prayer? In a sense, yes, He always hears our prayers. But like a good parent, He doesn’t always just say ‘Yes’ because a loving parent won’t say ‘Yes’ to all the child’s requests. It’s a bit like the traffic lights: Green is ‘Yes, go’, Red is ‘No, stop’ and Amber is ‘Wait’.
So Green, if you like, are all these prayers that you can look back on in prayer diaries and see they’ve got a tick. But sometimes there are ones that don’t have a tick, the ones where the answer seems to be ‘No’. And sometimes, later on, you realise why the answer was ‘No’.
Just because something isn’t happening for you right now doesn’t mean it won’t happen. God’s timing is perfect.
So how do we pray?
One of the most simple prayers you can pray is “Come Holy Spirit”. Inviting Holy Spirit to enter into the space. Allowing time to sit and let God communicate with you.
There's not just one way to pray. Prayer is communication with God, and we tend to all communicate in different ways. Allowing space to be still and simply pray, to speak to God however you need. God is there, and he is ready to listen.
If you’d like to learn more about life, faith, meaning, and prayer, why not try Alpha? Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that explore life’s big questions in an open and honest environment. It’s a place to ask questions and hear what other people have to say. Everyone is welcome at Alpha, and you can find the right Alpha for you at alpha.org.au/try.
Excerpt from Alpha Film Series, Episode 5 - Why and How Do I Pray?