Prayer

As we are working through a book on prayer right now, it’s a worthwhile project to collect any psalm verses that comment upon prayer.

I am uncertain of the exact relationship of praise to prayer.  Is praise a type or form of prayer or praise an altogether different thing?

What is the relationship between reading the Word and meditating upon it and prayer? If I read the Word and intermingle thoughts of prayer and praise while reading , is this also not a form of prayer?

I wish I had time to go back and read that little book–Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  A woman in our study group reminded us of this book, and I think my own prayer style is more along these lines–fluid, conversational, informal.

Philip Yancey also wrote a book on prayer.  If I’m remembering correctly, I failed to finish it.  Maybe this is a good time to dig that book up as well.

As I get older, I find myself less inclined to bend my ways, to twist them to conform to other’s ideas.   There is a fine line between a stubborn heart and knowing who you are.   Always, I want to be open to growing and broadening my understanding, but I also don’t wish to fix anything that’s not broken.  Is my prayer life in need of revolution?  strengthening?  fortification?  Is my fluid style just a lazyness, an unwillingness to quietly sit before the feet of God with no agenda?

I have a friend who is Buddhist.  She would say that prayer involves detachment–from thoughts, from the world around us.  Is prayer clearing your mind, cleansing it?  Or is prayer filling it and sharing those thoughts with God?

These are hard questions and I’m not sure it can’t be all of these things at different points and seasons in time.   The psalms are certainly diverse–they praise, plead, whine, condemn, wonder, and reflect upon God in a myriad of ways.  And when Christ taught his disciples to pray,  I don’t see a spirit of detachment there either.  In the Lord’s Prayer, there are thoughts of our Father, our sins, other’s sins, requests to protect us and keep us, but I don’t get a sense that we should desire to suspend ourselves from ourselves.  Do you?

Must prayer be a formal thing with eyes closed and no distractions, or do I think prayer can be open eyed, spontaneous thinking and asking, that flows from text to mind to text to God to thought to God?  Does prayer involve detachment or attachment or both?

What do you think?