The Five P’s of Prayer
But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.
Prayer has always been a mystery to those who pursue God. It is our way of connecting with the One who created us, but in some ways, prayer is nothing like any other type of communication in our lives. Here are some tracks to keep us going toward God as we pray, the five P’s of prayer:
- Primacy. Connecting with God is the most important thing we can do each day. From Him we gain wisdom to make better decisions and courage to follow through.
- Period. We need to carve out a time so that prayer is a priority to us. The pressures we face each day will threaten to crowd out our time with God, so we need to guard our time of prayer.
- Privacy. Some of us pray publicly, but all of us first need to go to God alone, with no audience and no distractions to pour out our hearts to Him and to listen.
- Person. Prayer isn’t just a self-improvement exercise. When we pray, we are connecting with a living Person who loves, grieves, laughs, and hears.
- Promise. Jesus assures us that our Father will reward our efforts to connect with Him. That doesn’t mean He promises to give us everything we want. More importantly, God will gradually change our hearts so that what we want most of all is Him.
It seems universally true that people who have direction in their lives go further and get more done in all areas of their lives.
In our world of technology most of us can’t fathom not being able to immediately connect and get a response even from those halfway around the world. We have gotten used to such phrases and words such as: “Can you hear me now?, Dropped call, poor internet connection and “check your junk mailbox.” In our world of instant connection with people sometimes we forget that even though God may seem as distant as the stars, in truth He’s just the length of a prayer away. We don’t have to understand the technical aspect of cell phones or computers to use them to connect. All we need to know is the simplicity of touching a key, a screen, or speaking into a device small enough to hold in our hand and yet reach anywhere on the planet. We don’t have to know how to build such a devise, only how to use it.
The same is true for the gift of prayer. We don’t have to understand everything about prayer to put it to use and the beauty of it is that God never drops a call, He doesn’t send us to voicemail or leave us in the queue for days because His mailbox is too full. When we call upon Him, He answers.
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble;I will rescue him and honor him.
‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.’
Those are the promises of God to us. The only hindrance to prayer is on us. Just as we have to pick up the phone or log on to the computer, we must also choose to engage in prayer. Doing so is simpler than either of the above. It’s a matter of speaking what’s on our heart. While it might appear that we’re speaking to thin air, we are in all actuality speaking to a listening God. Oh how complicated we’ve made prayer. Some think that we have to say just the right words with the right intonations as though we are making a rehearsed speech designed to impress. But prayer is that at all. It’s the heartfelt cry of a child reaching out to its Father and anyway a request can be made is heard, understood, and responded to. Paul in Romans tells us that sometimes words aren’t necessary for God even responds to our groans.
“In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.@
So don’t waste another minute trying to figure out everything about prayer, go ahead and begin a conversation with your Heavenly Father. He waiting to hear what you have to say and to draw you into His love and care and answer your prayer.