“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; (3) praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; (4) that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
What is Prayer?
First, we have to ask what “pray” means.
Mainly it means asking God for things. By “things” I don’t mean objects – stuff. I mean, generally, whatever your heart desires or needs. And, of course, what your heart needs most is God – to know him and trust him and love him and obey him.
I know that we should come to God with more than asking. We should come confessing sins and giving thanks and praise. In a broad sense, prayer includes all that. But, speaking precisely, prayer is requesting, asking. Thanking God should always be part of what we do in prayer. But prayer, in the strict sense, means requesting. So I define it as asking God for things.
“Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.” – John Bunyan
The essence of prayer is the expression of our dependence on God through requests.
That’s why God says in Psalm 50:15 , “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” God answers our call for help so that we get the rescue and he gets the honor. “I will rescue you and you will honor me.” Similarly in John 14:13 Jesus says, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Ask for things in my name! Why? So that the Father may be glorified. So he may look as glorious as he really is.