From another thread:
Here comes my guess on the answers:
Prayer (whether a formal prayer or in our own words) is speaking to God. If you acknowledge that you are a ***Christ***ian, it means you follow Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But God created everyone - He always hears you - whether or not you’re a Christian.
Prayer enhances your relationship with God. You acknowledge His Existence - and that He is there to hear you whenever you need to speak to Him.
Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but through Me.” I believe He told us to “ask and you shall receive”. But even Jesus prayed, and He was the Son of God. He prayed as a Jew in the Temple or Synagogue - and in the Garden of Gethsemane before His Crucifixiion. ‘Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from Me. Yet, not My Will but Thine be done.’ Jesus would later ask the waking Apostles, ‘Could you not watch one hour with me?’ I think Jesus meant pray with Him.
If the Son of God - while here on earth - prayed to God the Father, His actions spoke for where He stood on prayer.
Thank you Becky for the other thread. It is very good to read.
Welcome Brian to CAF.
May I ask a number of basic questions about prayer:
- How important is parayer to a Christian?
- What does prayer “do” for the individual?
- Whare did Jesus stand with regard to prayer?
Prayer is vital to a Christian. Prayer is a two-way communication between a person and God. Without communication, there is no active relationship. If we don’t pray, it is like if we are married but never talk to our spouse. If in prayer we only talk but not listen, it is like we only speak to our spouse but never listen to what our spouse has to say.
Prayer connects us to God. In prayer we open ourselves, presenting our lives and souls to the loving Father. We thank and praise Him for our blessings, we intercede for our loved ones’ needs and many things in this world, we let God know our concerns, we ask for divine wisdom and guidance, we repent, ask for forgiveness and we give our contrition, resolving to live a holier life. We love God, we tell Him how much we love Him and we ask Him to help us love Him more and more…In prayer, we let God’s light, wisdom and love shine through our souls. We gain strength to live our daily lives, we are to be gradually transformed and beome the person God means us to be.
Jesus and Father God are one. We can directly pray to Father, we can also pray to Jesus. The trinity are one, but each has His own identity. Jesus, the son of God through His Passion is the best advocate for us in front of the Father.
Hope this help.
Peter Kreeft has excellent answers to your questions in his book, ***Prayer for Beginners***, which you can read much of at the link provided.
Here are nine of Kreeft’s compelling reasons to pray:
**1. Praying keeps your soul alive: ** Prayer is real contact with God, and God is the life of the soul as the soul is the life of the body. If you do not pray, your soul will wither and die, just as, if you do not eat, your body will wither and die.
2. Because God commands it: Three reasons he commands us to pray correspond to our three deepest needs, the fundamental needs of the three powers of our soul: prayer gives truth to our mind, goodness to our will, and beauty to our heart. “The true, the good, and the beautiful” are the three things we need and love the most, because they are three attributes of God.
3. Prayer changes us: We pray, not to change God’s mind, but to change our own; not to command God, but to let God command us. Prayer is our obedience to God even when it asks God for things, for God commanded us to ask.
4. We do not have an infinite amount of time: We are one day nearer Home today than we ever were before. I guarantee you that after you die, you will not say, “I spent too much time praying; I wish I had watched more TV instead.” We must learn to pray because infinite and uncompromising Love will not leave us alone until we do. If we do not learn to practice his presence with our whole mind and will in this life, we will have to learn it in Purgatory, where it will be much more painful - or else we will never learn it, and that is Hell.
5. Learning to pray is dress rehearsal for eternal life: What you do when you rehearse a play is actually to practice it, to do it; and what we do when we pray is actually to practice what we will be doing in Heaven.
6. Prayer is delightful: Brother Lawrence says, in The Practice of the Presence of God, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”
7. Prayer is the way to know God: One moment of prayer, of weak worship, confused contrition, tepid thanksgiving, or pitiful petition will bring us closer to God than all the books of theology in the world.
8. Prayer is the only way to spiritual progress: We must pray in order to grow, and we must grow because Infinite Love will not, cannot, settle for less than the greatest joy of which his beloved creature is capable.
9. Prayer is necessary because without it we cannot attain the meaning of life, the end and purpose of our existence: Becoming saints is the meaning of life. It is why we exist. It is why God created us. Prayer is our first step in becoming saints. The second step is charity, a life of love, the ecstasy of giving ourselves away over and over again forever, as each Persons of the Trinity do. But this is prayer, too, or an extension of prayer. This is practicing the presence of God in action.
Source: Kreeft, Prayer for Beginners pp. 14-24.
If I might add to #1 in the above post, something St. Padre Pio was known for saying, “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.”