I long to understand prayer. If God knows all things before we even begin, what is the point? If it is simply that in prayer we draw near to God and shape our lives and desires by it, why are we encouraged to present (our) requests to God … Philippians 4:6 NIV … Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God?

Another verse I love is Isaiah 40:31 NIV … but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength. In the ancient version from which I learned memory verses all those years ago it reads, But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (KJV) … I can cope with prayer as ‘waiting upon God’. But somehow that’s not enough. It doesn’t fully explain the transaction of prayer … for I take it that prayer is a two way process.

As I was thinking about these things yet again this morning, I remembered a mnuemonic I worked with a few years ago –


Starting with praise lifts our focus onto God’s faithfulness and his provision in every area of our lives. Then we realise how little we deserve his grace and mercy, so we come in repentance. Only then do we see the full glory of our Father God, so we bow in adoration, yielding our lives to his service and purposes. At that point, we wait … in expectation, trusting in his promises. Finally, we make our requests, shaped now by his love and character, confident of his sovereignty yet also his imminence.  The journey can take only minutes, or hours (and it’s good to spend hours in prayer from time to time) but even this morning I found it restoring … and immensely humbling.

Philippians 4:7 NIV

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.