A Fresh Look at Prayer

I came across an absolutely wonderful little book on prayer by Michael Reeves called Enjoy Your Prayer Life. It will motivate you to pray, not primarily by teaching you how to pray, but more by shaping your vision of what prayer is—that is, “the primary way true faith expresses itself.” It’s a genuine expression of love and need from children to their Father, and that relationship is key:

Jesus invites us—in fact, commands us!—to pray ‘our Father’. Jesus is telling us to remember always who God is—our Father. Moreover, to our Father, prayer is as incense; it is a pleasing smell to him. In other words, he delights to hear and help us….

Jesus [stresses in Luke 11:11] that the willing and attentive kindness of our God is essential to know for prayer. We instinctively think of God without Christ—merely as Lord and Judge. And then we feel he’ll not want to hear from us sinners—and we won’t want in our guilt to be in his presence. But when we remember his friendliness, his open-armed fatherliness—that he has adopted us—it makes us want to go to him….

To know you are a beloved child of God protects you from thinking of prayer as a ladder to God or an exercise by which you work your way into his favour. Prayer doesn’t make you more accepted. Instead, prayer is growing in the appreciation of what you have been given. It may be that your heart is cold, your love is weak and your prayers are shabby, but what matters is that, united to Christ and in him, you are a cherished son—and your Father delights to hear you. Of course, with any other God we’d have to come in the strength of our own fervour; with this God we come in his….

So, once again, prayer is exercising faith—believing God’s almost incredible promise that we can come to him, even though our coldness and guilt screams otherwise. We must believe the Most High is our loving Father.

And that is prayer: relating to the Father as our Father.

The book will help you see prayer in a new way, in light of the Trinitarian nature of our God: “When you default to thinking of prayer as an abstract activity, a ‘thing to do’, the tendency is to focus on the prayer as an activity—which makes it boring. Instead, focus on the one to whom you’re praying.” When we come to our Father in our weakness and sin, without guile or pretension, we’re brought into the life and love of the Trinity. And in this book, Michael Reeves does an excellent job revealing that Trinitarian God in a way that will move you to pray.

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Amy K. Hall

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