God’s zeal for His house – Defining prayer

*** This article is part of a blog series by a Guest AuthorNic Thackwray. It is a journey into understanding better God’s Zeal for His House. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

So prayer is strongly on God’s heart as we saw last week. But what is prayer? This may seem like it has an obvious answer, but it is likely that God’s view of prayer is immensely bigger than ours and so to adventure into knowing God, we better try get the true nature of prayer right in our thinking.

I will quote a scripture that I think portrays the purist example of prayer that a human (other than Jesus) has ever experienced. This will be our benchmark.

“Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face,
as a man speaks to his friend.”
Exodus 33:11

There you have it. True prayer exists in many different places and forms, but here we see it the way I believe it was meant to be…friendship with God. It’s the garden of Eden all over again.

So I guess now would be the time to take a bash at my own definition of prayer. Here it goes: prayer is “friendship with God in action.” Let’s focus in a bit more. An earthly and human friendship exists because it is acted out. It involves a wide variety of trusting and affectionate communications of love and support between two individuals, both verbal (like talking) and non-verbal (like smiling and chilling together). In our relationship with God it should be no different. Therefore I believe prayer can involve things like (to mention only a few) thinking about Him, feeling trust in Him, being in awe of Him, worshiping Him, crying with Him, laughing with Him, listening to His voice, admiring His creativity, thinking about ways to please Him, enjoying His presence and last but not least, talking to Him. If it’s intentional communication with God, whether verbal or non-verbal, then it’s prayer. Let’s look at that Scripture from Isaiah again, with this new definition in mind:

“…for my house shall be called
a house of prayer [friendship with God in action] for all peoples.”
Isaiah 56:7

Sound like a place you’d want to be? Over the next few weeks we will see how the prayers of the saints are the Father’s mission, Jesus’ passion and the Holy Spirit’s work and then, finally, how it is our greatest purpose, the very reason that we exist.

Father, over these next few weeks, establish more true prayer in our lives for Your glory and our joy! Lord we want to know You face-to-face. We love You!