God communicates with us directly through his Word (with the Holy Spirit using it to teach us), and indirectly through creation and the circumstances of life (example Psalm 19:1). Other sections deal with these issues.
Our focus here is on our communication with God. If we love God, we will want to communicate with him. We will want to talk to him - prayer in all its dimensions. We will also want to express our love in worship. (We will also want others to know the greatness of God - but telling others about the good news of Jesus is not the focus of this section.)
We cannot overemphasize the fact that worship and prayer are not a synonym for "religion." A person can be very "religious" and still be hostile to the God of the Bible. In contrast, a person can be worshiping and praying without any visible actions that resemble what most people think of as "religion."
There are many modern counterfeits for true worship and prayer. Often worship is reduced to some basic form of ritual. Prayer is often reduced to an empty quotation of words that someone else wrote down on paper - though quoting a prayer is not necessarily wrong, if what it says is the true reflection of one's heart. (Some of the psalms are prayers.) Worship and prayer that is acceptable to God is God-centered (not self- or people-centered) and from the heart. We should heed the parable given in Luke 18:9-14.
A parable about prayer...
He [Jesus] spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others.
"Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: 'God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.'
But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)
Worship and Praise
Included here are a commentary and a study guide for Psalm 117. The study guide includes an extended focus on God's love and faithfulness.
Prayer: In-depth studies
Covers topics such as: 1) how not to pray, 2) living in the "age of prayer," 3) the "Lord's Prayer" (three studies), 4) prayer, God's sovereignty and the difficulties of life, and 5) communication with God. At the end of the study are additional notes about prayer in the Old and New Testaments, which are not a part of the main study.
Old Testament prayer is the foundation for New Testament prayer - and the two are closely related. This article looks at what was prayer like in the Old Testament and in the time between Old and New Testaments. (This was the type of praying that the apostles grew up with!)
Information about New Testament praying - what it was like and examples of what people prayed about.
Most people have self-centered prayers, if they pray at all. In contrast with this are the prayers of the apostle Paul. He provides us with some excellent examples of how we ought to pray. May God give us the grace to follow Paul's example!
Prayer: General articles and shorter studies
As we think about what Jesus said in the "Lord's Prayer," we can reflect on the nature of our own prayers. Our ultimate goal is to have the same values as Jesus did... and if we do have these values, our prayers will reflect it!
The "Lord's Prayer" is a model for us to follow. It reminds us of the focus our prayer should have.
Like the apostles in the garden, we often find it difficult to pray. "Learning" to pray involves not only learning facts about prayer, but also learning to do it.
Though God's people belong to a new eternal nation, we are to still pray for the nation we currently temporarily live in.
When God commands us to pray for leaders and others in authority, he doesn't say to pray only for "good" ones!
A look at one of the "personal benefits" of praying - the effect it has on our own lives.
In prayer, God interacts with his people in two ways: as Creator and as friend. Each of these ways has an important purpose.
We can trust God whether or not our prayer requests seem to get "answered." God's answers are not always apparent, but they are always for our good.
This is a list of verses about prayer, that you can use in your own study.
The Bible says...
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)