Pastoral Perspectives

Is Prayer A Mystery?

Prayer: is it a mystery? Is it a misunderstood phenomenon? Has it been understood by majority? What do we understand about prayer? How does prayer operate? As for me, I do not know how prayer operates and am often puzzled by the miraculous power of prayer! On what premises or parameters does prayer operate? Is it operating on the faithfulness and the goodness of God? Who invites us to pray? Who initiates the call to pray? On whose account and on what basis should one pray? Let us discover the mystery of prayer together?

Prayer is the means by which we can reach God. Though I may not know the whole mystery of prayer, it does not hinder or deter me to pray. In fact, I enjoy praying to the God who reaches out lovingly to me. I also enjoy bringing people’s needs before the God who waits eagerly for me. Prayer is the providence of and from a loving God. God is the One who calls us to pray and invites us to pray. God is the One who initiates prayer. God is the One who teaches us to pray too (see Luke 11:1-4; Matthew 6:9-13). God loves us so much that He provides us with such a wonderful access to Him and more so, through His beloved Son Jesus, by His sweet Holy Spirit. There is so much, so much to learn about prayer. I consider and regard prayer as a mystery. The mystery of prayer is in the gracious providence of a kind and loving God.

Through prayer, we can have a relationship with God. Prayer initiates such a relationship with Him. We pray because we believe that God hears us and answers our prayers lifted up to Him. We do not talk to an unknown God like what was described in Acts 17:22-31. During the time of Paul, when he was at Areopagus, he observed what the men of Athens were doing. They were having objects of worship. Paul found an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ With this observation, he addressed the people and said, ‘What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. From this platform, he shared with them concerning the God who made the world and everything in it. As for the Christians, we know whom we are worshipping. We do know whom we are talking to and whom we are relating to. So, prayer is a relationship!

Prayer is not just a matter of making a request to God. It is not just bringing a shopping list of requests to God as though He is a generous giver, us expecting Him to fulfil our demands and requests. Prayer is initiated by God and invites us to a beautiful, wonderful relationship with the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe. Prayer does have its boundaries. It is subjected to the Will of God within the Word of God. It is sanctified by the name of Jesus. In fact, this was what Jesus told His disciples, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 ESV).

The beautiful thing about prayer is that it helps you and me to start a life-long relationship with the One who creates us. God delights to hear the prayer of His children who willingly place their trust in Him and in His gracious providence. I have learnt the mystery of prayer all these years and am still learning.

Prayer is a great discovery! The moment I trusted Christ Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour, I uttered my first prayer of inviting Him into my heart, that is, my life. Ever since that day, I have never regretted making that wonderful decision of following Jesus and serving Jesus all my life. Prayer is also a great encounter! Through prayer, I have many great encounters with the true and living God. I have received many answers to my prayers lifted up to Him. People also see how God answered my prayers. Glory is given to the loving God! Amen. Hence, I have the opportunity and privilege to be involved in the life of others through this wonderful means of prayer. Prayer is also a great fellowship! Through prayer, it deepens my fellowship with God and draws me much closer to Him so much so that I literally enjoy the very presence of the Almighty God. It is the faithfulness and the goodness of God that hinge the overall premises of prayer.

May I, therefore, encourage you to also discover for yourself the mystery of prayer just as I have discovered? Begin first by examining the Bible for yourself in the many incidences of how Jesus and His disciples prayed and how prayer makes a great difference in each of their lives. Come to enjoy prayer yourself and encourage others to come along too so that we all may have a deeper understanding of the mystery of prayer. Praise the Lord! Amen.

Preacher George Ang

March 25, 2018