Some would say that there will not be prayer in heaven because we will always be with God and we can just talk to Him person to person. Well, yes, I agree that we will always be with God; however, if we define prayer as communication, as soul to soul communication between two people who love each other, then there definitely will be prayer in heaven. We will communicate with God soul to soul just as we do now. Many things about our communication with God will be different—and better—in heaven; but there are some basic things that will remain the same.
If you break down what it means to communicate soul to soul you will find that this aspect of prayer is eternal. The soul is made up of the mind, the affections, and the will. With the mind, when we pray, we think about God and He thinks about us. Our thoughts about God now mainly come from the study of His Word. And in heaven for eternity our thoughts toward God will also come from the Word; for the Word of God is eternal, and our thoughts on His Word are exhaustless. We will never run out of things from His Word to think about toward Him. Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Also in Isaiah 40:8 it says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
Our thoughts about God also come from our ponderings of nature, as we think about all the beautiful things in nature and the vastness of the universe. In heaven of course our thoughts about God will be much more wonderful. Heaven and earth will be new, and we will have a new, glorified mind. The wonders we will behold and think about will be awesome!
God also thinks, and will always think many thoughts toward us. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says to us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In Psalms 40:5 David said,
Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
Also in Psalms 139:17-18 David said,
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand…
With our heart (or with our emotions) we have feelings toward God; and with His heart He has feelings toward us. Our emotions toward God are stirred up by our thoughts of Him. So, as we meditate on the Word and ponder the beauty of God in nature, our heart is stirred in us to love Him and commune with Him. And of course, as 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
God’s love toward us doesn’t have to be stirred up. It has always been there. His love and all His wonderful thoughts and plans for us are eternal. That is, His love for us is from eternity past to eternity future. God’s very nature is love. He loves all people whether they choose to accept Him or not. And he demonstrated His love for us by sending His only Son to earth to die on a cross for us (Rom. 5:8). But His love doesn’t touch all of us. Only those who choose to accept Him and obey Him will experience His love; and happily, they will experience His love forever. Psalm 103:17 says, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him…”
The third part of the soul is the will. With the will we choose to listen to God and obey Him. This part of prayer is vitally important. It is the part that keeps communication with God alive, because if we don’t choose to listen to Him, speak to Him, and obey Him, and if He doesn’t listen to us and speak to us, then prayer is over; it is dead.
So what we are saying is that this soul to soul communication is the basis of prayer. We commune with God and He communes with us—through the mind, the affections, and the will. And we also communicate with Him verbally by words of our mouth. And whether we pray just in the mind (with the heart and the will), or also with words, we do it in conversational style, just as we are speaking to a friend. This is the nature of prayer now, and I believe it will continue this way for eternity; for God will always be our friend and lover, and He will always want to be near us and converse with us. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you…’”