What Is Prayer? What Does It Look Like?

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Dear Muslim and Christian friends,

Tonight I have been thinking about prayer. What is prayer, what does it look like?

I’m not speaking about the posture of prayer physically. And I’m not talking about prescribed prayers either. No, I’m talking about the content of prayer.

Of course, I can’t speak for Muslims, but I observe that when Christians use the word “prayer,” I believe that they are generally talking about requests that they are making to God – asking Him to do this or do that. Tonight, as I am trying to pray a little bit, I’m thinking that the content of prayer that God most desires has little to do with making requests of Him at all!

As someone has written:

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I truly believe that God wants to have a relationship with us. A personal relationship. Think about any relationship you have with another person that is rich and satisfying. In that relationship, what does a typical person to person conversation look like? Really, think about it. How much of your conversations with a family member or a close friend or a spouse consist primarily of you asking him or her to do things for you? Very little, right?

Tonight, I feel like God is whispering something to me. I feel like he is saying in His gentle voice that He just wants to be with me. He wants to have a conversation. Of course, He wants me to give him my requests because He enjoys doing things for me. But more than anything – like any good relationship – He simply wants to talk with me. Really, He just wants to be together.

So I don’t know whether you call yourself a Muslim or Christian. And I don’t know how you define prayer. But I do know one thing tonight: God wants to have a relationship with you that is characterized by conversations that are honest, personal, deep, and fulfilling.

That is what I think prayer is – as I pray tonight.

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