Jesus taught his followers to talk to God in the same way that he did – like a child speaks to an adoring father. When they pray, Christians sense that they are in the presence of God. They are seeking to come close to the maker and shaper of the world’s destiny. Christians lay open to God their deepest hope, happiness and anxiety. And they open themselves to God directing and changing them.
Those who take prayer to heart do not see it simply as a series of requests that God will change the world in the way they personally want. Rather it is an active way of participating in the working out of God’s plan for the world. Prayer can involve words, silence, reading, responding to art, or listening. Christians look for answers to their prayers in a change to their own actions and attitudes, and are overjoyed when the result is something that they recognise to be a miraculous intervention by God.
But despite that, God undoubtedly responds in some way to all kinds of prayer – even the desperate cry in an emergency of someone who has barely even thought about whether he exists. A conversation with God of this kind takes many forms:
This involves a human being putting himself or herself in a place of appropriate humility in front of the God who is utterly holy, loving and just.
This is a way of recognising that everything that gives value or joy to life is the gift of a Creator, not merely good fortune.
Prayers of this kind can be personal (such as begging for healing for a sick relative) or immense in scale (such as longing for the end of a war).
This involves confession of something wrong (either personal or as part of a worldwide injustice) and a recognition that God has mercy on those who regret what they have done and seek to change.
Looking for guidance
Prayer frequently asks God for direction, or seeks understanding in the face of the mysteries involved in being alive.
Submitting to God’s will
Jesus set us the example of giving way to our Father in Heaven, and letting him do what he wants in our lives. Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but yours, be done.” This can be the deepest form of prayer as we let God have first place in our lives.
St. George's uses the traditional structured prayer times of the Church of England and has regular monthly meetings, normally at someone's house with a meal afterwards.
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