Yes. It is all of those things. From thanking God for the little things each day, to the really big questions like, "Why do bad things happend to good people?" prayer is talking with God. Some people describe prayer as talking to God. And for some people that may be a great definition. But for me that just isn't enough. Prayer is talking with God. With implies that he talks as well. If I am talking with you, you are also talking with me. Otherwise we would be talking at each other. This is still a realatively new concept to me. I am still getting used to listening to God. But the more I do it the easier it is to hear that still small voice. The holy spirit speaks quietly to us. It whispers truths in our ear. It helps us to discern right from wrong. When we pray we need to spend time talking to God, but we also need to spend time sitting and listening. Some people spend 5 minutes each morning or night asking God, "What do you want me to do with ______" Then they either go right to bed or they go on with their day. But without listening for God's voice to give you an answer what good does it do to ask questions?
The next important thing to realize about prayer is that God speaks to us directly. Our Fahter who art in heaven hallowed be his name, speaks to us. Imagine that, God the creator of the entire universe talks to us. And when he talks to us it isn't out of obligation or for his benefit, because by no means does he need to talk to us. God wants to talk to us. Why? Because he loves us and want the best for us. And the best thing we can have in life is a strong relationship with our heaavenly father, our savior, and the holy spirit who is our guide and concience throughout our daily lives.
Now where do we go from here? Remember:
1. Remember that when you pray God is listening. He already knows what you want to say, but he wants to hear it from you.
2. Remember that when you pray you need to listen. He wants to speak to you his truth, but if you don't take the time to listen isn't it pointless?
3. Remember that when you pray to speak your heart. God desires your honesty, not perfection. Fancy words aren't important.
4. Remember that prayer is more than just a few moments at the beginning and end of each day. Prayer can become a state of mind that you are in all day long, constantly communicating with God.
5. Remember that prayer can be fun. You are spending time with an old friend. Whether you are asking for help, or if you are just telling him how excited you were when you went to a Casting Crowns concert last sunday, you are simply keeping in touch with and "hanging out with" your Best friend.
Bless this message and anyone out there who reads it. Let them see how important prayer is and how amazing it is that You are willing to talk to us and listen to us. Lord help me in my prayer life and help me to listen for your voice more and more. Keep me holy and walking in your will. Keep me free from the chains of sin that bound me for so long. Whenever I hear that voice whispering to me telling me to sin, help me to listen to the voice of truth. Your voice. Don't let me fall back into old habits. Let me be in constant communion with you always listening for your voice in everything I do.