What is prayer? How would you describe prayer to someone who didn't know anything about prayer? There may be many ways to describe prayer, but what would you say is the single most important aspect of prayer? What is the true essence of prayer? What does God want to accomplish through prayer? What is the purpose of prayer in our life?
"True, whole prayer is nothing but love." Augustine
Prayer is not about getting our requests from God. Prayer is first and foremost about an intimate relationship with our loving heavenly Father. Above all else, I believe prayer is the key to the heart of God. Richard J. Foster describes this aspect of prayer in his book Coming Home - An Invitation to Prayer. He says, "Coming to prayer is like coming home. Nothing feels more right, more like what we are created to be and to do."
He continues, "Real prayer does not come by gritting our teeth but by falling in love." Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten Him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.
And He is inviting you-and me-to come home…to that for which we were created…home to serenity and peace and joy, home to friendship and fellowship and openness, home to intimacy and acceptance and affirmation. He invites us…to friendship…to share freely. He invites us into His strength…His wisdom…His creativity, where we can be co-laborers with Him, working together to determine the outcomes of events. He invites us into His rest…peace…deepest intimacy, where we know and are known to the fullest.
The key to this home, this heart of God, is prayer. The Father's heart is open wide-you are welcome to come in. Perhaps you…have little faith, or none. It does not matter. The Father's heart is open wide-you are welcome to come in. Perhaps you are bruised and broken by the pressures of life. Others have wronged you, and you feel scarred for life. You have old painful memories that have never healed. You avoid prayer because you feel too distant, too unworthy, too defiled. Do not despair. The Father's heart is open wide-you are welcome to come in. Perhaps…you long for more: more power, more love, more of God in your life. Believe me. The Father's heart is open wide-you too are welcome to come higher up and deeper in.
If the key is prayer, the door is Jesus Christ. How good of God to provide us a way into his heart. Jesus, the Christ, lived a perfect life, died in our place, and rose victorious over all the dark powers so that we might live through Him. This is wonderfully good news. No longer do we have to stand outside, barred from nearness to God by our rebellion. We may now enter through the door of God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ."
Do we experience the depth of His love? Do we share what is on God's heart? We can if we desire. He is inviting you-and me-to come home…to that for which we were created... Phil 1:9-11
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