This guest post is contributed by Karen Anderson, who writes on the topic of online bible colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email id : firstname.lastname@example.org
Some people pray because they want something, material goods, happiness, health, and so on. Others get down on their knees to offer thanks and praise the Lord. And yet others think of prayer as conversation with God. It’s the time they’ve set aside to talk to him, to tell him about their plans and goals, to ask for his opinion and seek his support and blessings, and to cry on his shoulders when things are not going too well. Each of us prays in different ways, but prayer is really prayer only when:
• It’s not mindless repetition: We have many prewritten prayers that we know offhand and we’ve been repeating them since we were children; but just saying the words doesn’t make them prayers. To really pray, you must mean every word you say, and this means you must concentrate on the words and their meanings even though they are etched in your memory and are sent to your tongue automatically.
• It does not seek to harm anyone: When you pray explicitly or implicitly that others come to harm or fail in their ventures, you’re mocking the power of prayer. God does not answer prayers that are vengeful, deceitful and detrimental to others, because all of us are his children and he has no favorites. Even in a competition, pray that you must win rather than that your opponents must lose. When you do your best and leave the rest to God, that is genuine prayer.
• It does not bargain with God: You cannot ask God for favors and then promise to do certain things in return if he agrees to your demand. Nor can you claim to have done something and then demand that it is God’s turn to do something else in return for you. Prayer does not work that way; it does not bargain with God. Ask for what you need, and if God thinks you deserve it, it will be given to you.
• It comes from the heart: A real prayer should come from your heart, not your lips. It should be a genuine need to connect to God and to share your thoughts and fears with him. Learn to pray not only when you’re sad and in trouble, but also when you’re happy and content in your life. It is as important to give thanks as it is to ask for help.
• It is not a visual display: Prayer is a private conversation between you and God, not a visual display that you put on to impress or attract other people. When you resort to gimmicks and tomfoolery in prayer, you are belittling and mocking God, not praying to him.
Prayer is salvation, because it is your time with God. And when done correctly, it brings redemption and peace of mind.