Published by Jason Taylor on Sun, 21 Jan 2018 21:28


Superficiality is the Curse of our age.  The desperate need of today is not for a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people but deep people.

To pray is to change.  and prayer is the Central Avenue God uses to transform us!  Stands to reason therefore that the lack of prayer may indicate an unwillingness to change. Because the closer we come to God the more we see how need in the face of that need we have two options:

  1. Change to conform ourselves more to his likeness; or
  2. Withdraw from his presence and remain as we are.

When we pray, God slowly and graciously reveals to us our evasive actions and sets us free from them.

Prayer is the single most important spiritual discipline. All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.

Real Prayer is something we must learn. The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord teach us to pray”. They were not new to prayer but they saw something in the quality and quantity of Jesus prayer life that prompted them to ask for help.

If the disciples needed to be taught to pray, how much more do we?

Real prayer requires faith and faith is, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) If we lack faith for prayer then the solution is not less but more prayer.

To understand that the work of prayer is a learning process saves us from arrogantly dismissing it as false or unreal.  If your television is not working you do not assume there is no such thing as television but do your best to find a solution to the problem.  it should be the same with prayer.

We know we are praying right when the things we pray for happen, if not we look for the problem.

  • Perhaps we are praying wrongly
  • Perhaps there are new principles to be learnt
  • Perhaps patience and persistence are needed

We listen to God, we make adjustments, we try again.  We can know our prayers are being answered as surely as we know that the television is working.

Listening to God is the necessary prelude to intercession. We must hear, know and obey the will of God before we pray.  The beginning point then in learning to pray for others is to listen for guidance.

Start small and as you grow in confidence so will your prayers and their effectiveness. Sometimes we worry that our prayers will not be answered or that we lack faith but the Bible assures us that great miracles are possible with faith the size of a mustard seed.

Don't make prayer too complicated. Come simply to God and make your request. The reason God answers prayer is because his children ask.  When children ask their parents for something they do so with utter confidence.   They do not hold back some of tonight's dinner in case there is none tomorrow. They eat it all and ask for more.

It is also from children that we can learn the power of the imagination in prayer. Imagination often opens the door to Faith. If God shows us a broken marriage whole or a sick person well, it helps us to believe it could be so. (See page 50 in celebration of discipline)

When we pray we are not trying to conjure up anything but asking God to tell us what to do.

In this simple way we can pray for people and situations.  We listen to God for his will and then we pray.   Thus we can pray with joy and imagination for:

  • Broken marriages
  • Church leaders
  • Our families and friends
  • Governments and countries

Why not try it and see what happens?

This talk was based on a chapter from Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.

Categories Rector's Blog