Prayer is loving communication with God. Prayer is the expression of our inner spiritual needs. Through prayer we can find strength of spirit, guidance, wisdom, joy and inner peace. Prayer may be long or short, alone or in a group, silent or aloud, but it should be a true communication with God and not done for public recognition. Important aspects of prayer include:
- Expressions of faith and trust in God
- Confession of our sins
- Praise of God’s mighty deeds
- Thanksgiving for all the good things we have received
- Dedication to serve God and other people
- Requests for our needs and the needs of others
Jesus spent a lot of time praying. He often went to a solitary place and prayed for hours at a time, especially at difficult times in His ministry. The Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ model of the perfect prayer:
Jesus said this: “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”
God will answer our prayers and give us everything we need and more. But a wise parent will not give a child everything he or she wants. Similarly, prayer is not a magical trick to get anything we want or a “quick fix” for problems that we should be solving ourselves. God answers prayer requests in His own way, in His own time and will not grant requests that are against His holy and wise purposes, are selfish in nature, are not in our best long-term interest, or those made with impure motives.
Often, we must be persistent in prayer. The answer, when it comes, may be in a form radically different than what we expected and we must be alert to that possibility. God frequently uses other people, such as physicians, friends, relatives or new acquaintances, to supply an answer to our prayers.
Sometimes, the answer must come from within ourselves and persistent prayer will help us find that answer. We may need a new attitude or a different way of looking at things, or we may need to make amends with someone.
At St Thomas, prayer is a critical part of our church life. Everything we do, everything we say and everything we need is centered around prayerful consideration. We hold prayer meetings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings at 9.15am and a monthly prayer service, usually on the last Sunday of the month at 6.30pm.