Prayer is so very basic, yet it is also so deep and boundless in it meaning. In my reading I have found nine different descriptions of prayer.
1. Prayer is asking and receiving. According to E.M. Bounds, “Prayer is the outstretched arms of the child for the Father’s help. Prayer is the child’s cry calling to the Father’s ear…Prayer is the seeking of God’s greatest good, which will not come if we do not pray.”
Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Again E. M. Bounds writes, “Prayer is asking, seeking and knocking at a door for something we have not, which we desire, and which God has promised to us…Prayer is the voice of need crying out to Him who is inexhaustible in resources. Prayer is helplessness reposing with childlike confidence on the word of its Father in heaven.”
Thus prayer is asking because we are as a needy child, and it is receiving because He is our Father and so willing to supply our need.
2. Prayer is approaching God’s throne. According to Spurgeon, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God.” I would say it this way: it is the approach of the Holy Spirit in our soul that drives us to the throne.
Again Spurgeon writes, “True prayer is a spiritual business from beginning to end, and its aim and object end not with man but reach to God Himself.” Yes, we enter into the courts of heaven to do business, spiritual business with God. Thus prayer should be regarded as a spiritual business meeting in the heavenly places with God.
But we go there not alone. The Holy Spirit goes there with us. He has invited us there, where a prayer-business meeting has been going on for over 2000 years. Says Thompson, who wrote a little book entitled, Master Secrets of Prayer: “[Prayer] is a tuning in on the great, thunderous, two-thousand-year-old prayer meeting going on in the glory above.” There we join Jesus and the Holy Spirit along with all the saints gathered around the throne of God.
3. Prayer is our service due Him. According to E. M. Bounds, “Prayer is not a duty which must be performed, to ease obligation and to quiet conscience… [it is rather] a solemn service due to God, an adoration, a worship…” Prayer is not only for our own sake, to make requests and to gain answers, it is also to please God, to render our service to Him in honor of His glorious name, which is due him. And our greatest service in prayer is our faith. When we pray with faith we pray with a spirit of thankfulness to God for the sacrifice of His Son; hence, we pray believing in Him, with a desire to do His will.
The above article is an excerpt from this book.
The following descriptions will be covered in upcoming blogs:
4. Prayer is letting Jesus come into us and heal us.
5. Prayer is an expression of our fellowship with God.
6. Prayer is something we do naturally.
7. Prayer is dominant desire.
8. Prayer is a struggle.
9. Prayer is expressing the absence of God.