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Defining Prayer

By Pat Robertson
The 700 Club - Prayer is communion with God. It is the closest, most intimate relationship with the Creator you can have.

Prayer is not playing magic games, spinning prayer wheels, reading off a list, or asking for things to be done. It is a communion. "Deep calls unto deep," the Bible says (Psalm 42:7). In prayer the depths of your spirit are in communion with the depths of the Spirit of God. Out of this can come instruction, guidance, or a burden to pray for certain things.

The apostle Paul said, "For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). There are times when we can emit only wordless groanings because we don't know how to pray about a specific situation.

We can learn much from the Lord's Prayer, the model prayer (see Matthew 6:9-13). The first is that if we are to structure prayer, we should begin with an acknowledgment of the One we are talking to -- God, our Father. We should also include adoration, "Hallowed be Your name." We are to glorify and worship His name, His very Being.

Next, we must be concerned about the extension of His kingdom. We ask that men should come to know Him and submit to Him. "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Next to the name and the person of God Himself, the most important thing in prayer is the extension of God's kingdom.

After that, we ask God for our daily bread -- whatever we need to carry out His work. It may be money, a car, food, clothing, a house, or a $20 million budget for a Christian organization. It may be money to feed the poor. It may be a lot of things. We ask Him to give us, day by day, bread that is sufficient for us. That is the petition part of prayer. The first part of prayer is praise, the second is intercession for others, and the third is petition, when we ask for our needs to be met.

Finally, we seek God's protection that we might not be led into temptation and that God will keep us from evil. We ask Him to keep us walking in His way, so that we might be covered by His power and anointing and not be susceptible to Satan's influences.

We must remember that prayer is rooted in forgiveness. "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." The relationship of God's people to Him comes about because of continuous forgiveness. If we are going to see miracles in our lives, we have to be willing to forgive other people, even as God is willing to forgive us.

Christians should always be in an attitude of communion with God. Prayer can take place in every circumstance (see Psalm 4:4, 5:3, Daniel 6:10, Acts 21:5, I Thessalonians 5:17). In my life, as events pass by, I may find myself talking to Him, wanting to know something, asking for advice and counsel, or for favor and blessing. The Christian's life should be filled with prayer. In addition, we should set aside specific times, at least once a day, for prayer and for reading the Bible.

As we read the Bible, we should pray, worship God, speak to Him about our needs, and listen to His answers. This should be a time of communication between two spirits that sets the order of events for each day.

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.