- A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
- The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship.
- An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving: One evening a week, the family would join together in prayer.
- A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
[Middle English preiere, from Old French, from Medieval Latin precria, from feminine of Latin
precrius, obtained by entreaty, from precr, to entreat.]
So, this is what the dictionary has to say about prayer — not very exciting, is it? I mean, a “reverent petition”? What does that even mean? As Christians, we can sometimes get caught up in a mental definition of prayer, or in a formula for prayer (like “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food” or the Lord’s prayer), and it can really keep us from experiencing God’s blessings in our prayer lives! It’s not that the Lord’s prayer is a bad thing, or that the bedtime prayers that we learned as children are evil, it’s just that our creative God expects us to turn our brains on when we talk to Him — and that’s what prayer is really all about. Whenever you talk to God, whether out loud, or in a song, or inside your head, you’re praying.
When we love people, we tell them so. When we get a gift, we say thanks (at least I hope so)! When we’re frustrated or afraid, when we want or need something, when we can’t get through a situation on our own, we talk to someone about it. Maybe our friends can’t help or understand our problems, but we tell them anyway because it brings us closer to them. It’s the same with our Heavenly Father: prayer builds our relationship with Him because we are taking time to focus completely on Him, even for just a moment. And when we pray, we can have the confidence that comes from knowing that God loves us, has a good plan for our lives, and wants us to experience the joy of living with Him every day.
But I have a question for you all: what is prayer in your life? Is it something that happens at meals occasionally or at bedtime with your younger brothers or sisters? Do you remember to pray when you’re not at church? God wants us to talk with him all the time and about everything, not just on Sunday mornings or during mealtime.
So what do you need prayer for? Are you nervous about school this fall? Do you wish you and your siblings got along better? Do you need help with a decision you know you need to make but have been putting off? Stop worrying, stop wishing, and stop procrastinating. God loves you, and He wants you to climb up into His lap and tell him all about the things you care about. And we will come alongside you by praying for you, too.