Its an intimidating concept to some of us. To actually speak to our heavenly Father-wow! In Celebration of Discipline, Foster says that prayer is the "central avenue God uses to tRANSFORM us."
Maybe you have heard "ask and you shall receive" and have been confused about its meaning. Obviously, God does not grant every prayer so whatsup?
James 4:3 says "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions".
"To ask 'rightly'", says Foster, "involves transformed passions". You see, when you are living in Christ, "close to the heartbeat of God", your desires become His desires. Your plans become His plans. Your character becomes His character-have mercy!
Through prayer we can be taught to "see things from His point of view"-awesome.
Many whom have walked closely with God have made prayer "the main business of their lives". To breathe was to pray.
"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, KJV). The Greek word "without ceasing" means continuous action. Therefore, “praying without ceasing” means to pray continuously.
What? That's impossible in this day and age! I work full-time and have a husband and x number of kids. How can I pray continuously??
First off, there are many types of prayer; discursive prayer, mental prayer, centering prayer, prayers of quiet, prayers of relinquishment, prayer of guidance. I have really enjoyed practicing "flash prayers" where you silently say a quick prayer of thanksgiving or a prayer of guidance with each person that you see or come in contact with throughout the day. This can really change they way we view others. Instead of looking at someone in a judgmental way, you see them as a child of God. Try this sometime when you are in a public place. Imagine Jesus walking through the crowd "touching people on the shoulder and saying,
'I love you.
My greatest delight would be to forgive you and give you good things.
You have beautiful qualities still in the bud that I would unfold
if only you will say yes.
I'd love to rule your life if you'd let me'."
It is important to note that prayer isn't just about talking to God; it is, just as importantly, about listening.
Prayer is a skill to be learned. We are to come to God like children to their father...
I have also learned that during prayer it is important to focus on the good instead of the bad. For example, if praying for a troubled marriage; don't focus on the specific problems of that marriage but instead focus on the whole, healthy, Christ-centered marriage that God wants for us all. Give your energy to the good that you know Christ can give us, not to the evils of this fallen world.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"