NCC 38 – What is Prayer?

The following is an excerpt from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.

“If you are discouraged by the command to pray because you feel like you don’t know how to pray well, the fact that prayer is learned should give you hope. That means that it’s okay to start the Christian life without any knowledge or experience of prayer. No matter how weak or strong your prayer life is right now, you can learn to grow even stronger.

There is a sense in which prayer needs to be taught to a child of God no more than a baby needs to be taught to cry. But crying for basic needs is minimal communication, and we must soon grow beyond that infancy. The Bible says we must pray for the glory of God, in His Will, in faith, in the name of Jesus, with persistence, and more. A child of God gradually learns to pray like this in the same way that a growing child learns to talk. To pray as expected, to pray as a maturing Christian, and to pray effectively, we must say with the disciples in Luke 11:1, “Lord, teach us to pray.””

Whitney goes on to say that believers can learn to pray by

  1. Praying
  2. Meditating on the Scriptures
  3. Praying with Others
  4. Reading about Prayer

Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving.

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