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What's prayer for? June Prayer Column

At a recent meeting someone posed that seemingly simple question. And as it happens I’d been sent a possible answer just a couple of days before in a quote attributed to one Richard Exley:
Prayer is multidimensional. It includes petition, confession, intercession and praise, but its highest purpose is fellowship with the Father. In prayer we share our needs with God, but more importantly we spend time with the Father. Relationship takes precedence over everything else. Remember, the primary purpose of prayer is not petition but fellowship. It's about spending time with the Lord.
Listen to most prayers, and it’s about praise and asking – and there’s a lot right with that. Jesus certainly told us to praise God the Father and ask for what we needed, especially when we’re in a fix (Matthew 6:9ff). And (perhaps obviously) especially when what we need is for God’s work on earth: promoting Jesus-shaped values of human and cosmic welfare (you can think big if you’re a Christian), including justice and peace, as well as the delicate business of on-to-one relationships requiring caring, patience and forgiveness. What’s more, Jesus promised to answer such prayer himself (John 14:13f), though not always as we expect, because Jesus as risen Lord and Saviour thinks even bigger than we do.

But the important reminder in that definition of prayer is that the point of it all is being with God as Father – for which Jesus is the way (John 14:6). Do you want that? Then pray, in his name.

Roy Lorrain-Smith

A prayer for each week

Answering Lord, fielding both our questions and our requests, we praise you for your patience. Please help us to seek for and grasp the answers you provide. Amen.

Calming Lord, offering peace in your presence that can be felt but not explained, we praise you for calling us. Please help us to stay with you, not rushing. Amen.

Fatherhood Lord, creating and sustaining us your children (and all else), we praise you that in you we belong. Please help us to get to know you in eternal depth. Amen.

Companionship Lord, friend to all who humbly seek you in truth, we praise you for the privilege of conversation with you. Please help us not to hold back. Amen.

Way-making Lord, who sent Jesus to lead us to you as Father, we praise you for your love. Please help us to follow your beckoning, to please you and bless us. Amen.

Your own prayers

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