Some Baseline Thoughts on Prayer

It is basic to the human condition to cry for help. We are born dependant. From the initial moments of infancy we begin to feel need – to breathe, to eat, to be held, to be protected, to be loved. We are powerless. As we mature our laundry list of needs mount, ever more complicated and increasingly burdensome. The very act of our birth initiates us into need.

We are observers. We observe the panorama of life and intrinsically know that there are so many things that were not supposed to be like this. We know things need to change for all of us, in all of us. But change is far too great an assignment for any of us. Moment by moment we are confronted with dependence.

As dependant creatures prayer is a baseline need. One would be hard pressed to find a human who has not cried out to a higher power in some way and at some time in their life. At the very least we all desire for something higher than we, the dependant, to change the current moment. Heal me. Help me. Love me. If you exist . . .

Christians do not have a monopoly on prayer. Hindus pray. Muslims pray. Even some agnostics pray, at least I think they do, but how can we be sure? The point is people pray. We are dependant and so we must, and we do.

So what is it about Christian prayer? Christian prayer is the nourishment of our basic human felt need to pray. It is one thing to feel hungry, it is quite another to be fed. Christian prayer is birthed in the human condition but it is also directed, purposeful, and confident as it rests upon the grounds of faith. The Bible gives us the record of the Creator God’s interactions with His creation. Throughout human history the Bible records the passionate pleas of the dependant and the response of a transcendent God within the confines of time and space. The Bible is not written as religious theory, nor is it the documentation of one man’s exclusive interaction with an allusive shroud of divinity. The Bible, for the most part is narrative, a story full of life. It is the account of the interactions and confrontations of people, nations, and generations with God. Men and women have called upon Him and He has fed, healed, refused, loved, denied, disciplined, touched, visited, and ultimately saved them. Christian prayer is launched in emotion, refined in need, full of ourselves but intrinsically attached to the glory of the God. He is there. He hears and answers our prayer.

Prayer is a colorful conversation with God.

Prayer is more than desperation. It is an invitation to fulfill one of our most basic needs, to have a conversation with the One who created us with this base desire to cry for help.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 1 Timothy 2:1-6


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