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Article in The Whittier Daily News

Filed under: Blog — Pastor David Feb 5, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

Prayer; Is It Telling, or Asking God?

The national survey says that 9 out of 10 Americans pray. Knowing this, leads us to ask ourselves the question, “what is prayer”? In its simplest form, it is a heartfelt cry while driving to a doctor’s appointment, a desperate plea for a spouse in depression or a parent’s desperately appealing for their child in trouble. It is a reflective thought of just how great God is while looking at a beautiful sunset (and there are plenty of those here in So. Cal.). Prayer can be what is expressed at the overwhelming and tearful moment when a precious child is born. “Thank you God for this beautiful and healthy child!” Prayer is our ongoing and specific communication to God about everything we go through during this short time on earth.

Tragically, prayer has become associated with religion and church buildings. Actually, most of the prayers of this world are not said in a church sanctuary or in a religious service. They are said while we live our lives, and that is what God intended.

An even greater tragedy, is when we think we have prayed when all we did was to tell God what He needs to do with a problem or crisis. “Telling God” is not what is really needed but rather asking Him, expressing our issues to Him with open-hearted questions! The Bible is full of great questions that the ancient saints cried out to God.  Jesus taught that we are to “ask and then receive”, “seek and then we find”, “knock and the door will be opened”.

The key to true prayer is in the deliberate adjustment of asking rather than telling or advising God as to what He should do. Ask, seek, search for answers that we do not yet have. Ask Him what He wants you to do. Ask Him, “why this is happening?”. Ask Him, “what is the meaning of life?” or “how do I approach my problem?” and “what we are to learn from what we are going through?”  We are even free to ask Him, “why He seems to hide when you need Him most?”!

You might wonder why would someone even need to ask God for guidance or direction? My answer to that question would be this; because we, as humans, tend to be short sighted and limited in knowing what is really needed in any given moment. We tend to only see and deal with the “here and now”…God sees and answers our prayers according the full and big picture of our life and purpose on earth. We may also find ourselves asking; “What do I say?” or “How should I word my prayer?”  Turning our life issues into questions for God are as simple as asking Him;  “What is the lesson or truth here that I need to see or discover?” or “Is my way of handling my marriage or family causing this problem to get worse or better?” etc.  God’s responses to our questions become our answers to prayer!

Did you catch that? Answers to prayer are summed up in His responses to our questions! Former TV host, Larry King, was known to have said, “I never learned anything while I was talking… the first rule in speaking is listening.” Wow! That is what real prayer is all about. God has much to teach us and say to us if we will ask Him questions and wait to hear His response. Doesn’t this remove the “pressure” of trying to figure out how to word things “just so” for God? Our questions can come easily and without having to have elegance or ritual…but rather expressing from an open and expectant heart. God hears our questions and will answer our questions! This becomes our daily prayer life.

As we end this short article on prayer, will you pray with me? “Our Father, I am a child who needs to know what You want me to do with the short and busy days of life. How can I use them to understand You better, to love others in a more effective way, and to help someone who is hurting?” Get ready, God heard this prayer you just prayed, and His answer is on the way!