Research shows that more than half of the american pray . It varies from ‘praying every day’ to ‘occasional prayer’. We pray especially in tense times, or during life events such as a wedding or a funeral. Praying is not so bad. But how does prayer work?
When EO presenter Andries Knevel was in the hospital with a legionella infection, the EO made a call to pray for him . That request raised many questions: how do you do that, pray for Andries? And what is prayer anyway? RTL Nieuws consulted cultural theologian Frank Bosman and received 6 tips:
- “Praying is putting your life in the hands of someone who is bigger than you.”
- You can pray in 2 ways: thanksgiving and supplication. “Asking Andries Knevel to get well again is a plea. And that is very good to do.”
- You can ask as many and as many times as you want …
- … but praying is no guarantee that it will happen; you shouldn’t blame God for that. “If Andries doesn’t get better, then it must be like that.”
- You can also pray for very earthly material things, such as a new car, job or more salary.
- You can pray anywhere, there is no compulsory attitude. “Thumbs may also”.
The Bible promises that God will be there when you meet with other believers to pray. How beautiful is that? In the Bible, even prayer is primarily a public affair: out loud, with others there, at regular intervals. That naturally fits many people. We are social beings and are sensitive to our environment and habits. By praying together you get to know another better and your own image of God is enriched. If you have no words, someone else can pray for you. Did you know that couples who pray together, according to research, stay together longer?
Don’t you know what to pray for? Then be inspired by prayers from Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa . Or pray the prayer that Jesus taught to his followers, translated in a contemporary way in the Bible in Normal Language :
Our Father in heaven, let everyone honor you.
Let your new world come.
Let your will be done on earth just as it is done in heaven.
Give us today the food we need.
And forgive us for what we did wrong,
For we have forgiven other people their mistakes.
Help us never to choose against you.
And protect us against the power of evil.
Because you are king, you reign with great power, forever.
(Amen means: sure, that’s how it is)
Why does God want us to pray?
Because He wants a personal relationship with you. Your partner knows that you love him or her, but he or she still likes it when you say that regularly. It is the same between God and us: He made us people who can live in freedom and responsibility. And He wants us to live with Him.
What is a good prayer?
Praying is expressing your heart with God. Tell him about situations, thoughts, wishes, concerns and questions that concern you. You are completely free to tell what you want and what not.
Praying is part of the relationship between God and you. You can talk to God and you never have to be afraid of miscommunication, He will understand you! He has promised that He will hear us pray and will always do something with it (according to the Bible in Matthew 7: 7 ).
How do you know if something is really an answer from God to your prayer?
You can learn to feel what is of God and what is not. Sometimes His answer is obvious; then it won’t let you go. Another time his instructions come much more carefully; it continues to explore your possibilities and search for God’s way. Two ways to check: see if the answer fits the message of love and forgiveness from the Bible. God will not contradict himself. And ask other Christians around you for wisdom.