Layers of Prayer & Definition
Prayer, a quiet thought or word devoted to God. Possibly whispered words or sung loudly.
Prayer, it’s something we should talk about more and understand.
Prayer should remain constant.
(BSB) 1 Thessalonians 5:16- 17, “Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing.”
Today, I want to go over what I believe to be different components of prayer. Layers that show us the true depth of what it means to pray to God. Before jumping in, let’s cover what the definition of prayer is.
Prayer is defined as a solemn request for help or an expression of thanks. In prayer, God can be spoken to and/or worshiped. In short, prayer should be simple. However, we are human and because we are human greater understanding needs to be given.
When looking at layers of prayer, I will be focusing on a few areas.
First, what kind of feeling is the prayer covered with?
Second, what kind of acknowledgment is given to God?
Third, what kind of requests are being made to God?
Fourth, what kind of worship is given to God?
Society’s Version of Prayer
*Note: When I say society, I am viewing the majority amount.
Society from the world’s point of view tends to view prayer as a separate thing. Prayer is often done on an individual basis. Prayer is not usually acknowledged unless it does not work. When this happens, anger is directed at God.
Sometimes the anger is directed at God even when the individual claims, that because God does not answer prayer and allows the world to be cruel, He does not exist. Though, unless I’m wrong, one cannot be angry with Someone he or she does not believe in.
Society from the believer’s perspective, however, tends to view prayer as a group activity. Prayer tends to only be used during routine activities, church services, dinner, and possible bedtimes. Prayer is usually acknowledged for blessings, usually, these blessings come from self-want.
Prayer Isn’t About Getting What We Want
Past believers who see other believers receive these blessings, while their own prayers go unanswered, grow a hardened heart and become angry or frustrated. Comments are given to them too, “Pray more and God will answer” only making them feel more separated or “wrong” than ever.
Before Jesus is brought up into this mess, cause we need a Redeemer, something needs to be clarified about both of these societies. Many of these prayers are what I am going to describe as Surface Prayers. Surface means the uppermost layer, the top part and the person, the individual, who is praying… is praying from the surface.
Layer 1: Surface Prayers
The farthest part from the core of the soul, this is where a surface prayer is said.
1. This layer is decorated with feelings of selfishness, out of requirement, lack of true concern, full of doubt, the need to be noticed by others and even boredom.
2. Acknowledgements are given to God only because the individual is grateful for his or her blessings.
3. Requests are repetitive and/or basic. They usually focus solely on the individual’s happiness and lifestyle.
4. Worship is for the eyes of many. Worship is done only because everyone else is participating. Worship…what is that? Why am I here?
Surface prayers miss out on the most important factor when it comes to praying to God. Prayer is not simply talking to God and worshipping Him. Prayer relies upon the foundation on which our relationship with Jesus Christ lies. If there is no relationship with Christ, there is no use in pretending to be a believer. It’s just another mask, another layer that covers and hides us from the Truth even when the Truth is looking right at us.
Only About Us
It is not that God wouldn’t ever listen to a sinner with sincerity and humility of change.
(NIV) Romans 10:09-10, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
However, if someone only comes to God solely for his own sake, then it is more than likely the prayer will not be heard.
(ESV) John 9:31, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does His will, God listens to him.”
We Choose Time Over God
But if there is a relationship with Christ, how can it be that believers still give out surface prayers? Sometimes we get too caught up in our life. We feel rushed, so we rush our interactions with God. Much like a child murmuring her prayers because she is told to, we feel inclined to do so because it is “good” and “right”.
(ESV) Job 35:13 “ Surely God does not hear an empty cry, nor does the Almighty regard it.”
Doubt Dictates The Heart
But there is something else that can grip a believer from the core of prayer to the outer most layer. Surface prayers range from completely being about self to we want to be believed, but we are consumed by doubt. Doubt makes our own words meaningless because there is no point in praying with a heart completely full of doubt. I’m not talking about the struggle between doubting and hoping, that’s later.
I’m talking about full doubt, “I don’t know why I am even praying because I will not be answered.”
Doubt kills all hope. If we can’t even have hope in the smallest thing, there is no way we could have faith in the unseen.
You may have experienced it or seen it yourself. Doubt completely cripples people. It is born from pain, the pain of rejection especially. No one reaches out to us, or if we try to help out we feel that our actions are meaningless…hopeless.
We make ourselves so bitter and fragile on the inside, we try to hide it on the outside. The outside being, the only part everyone sees. See the connection?
If all we are giving to God is our outer shell, then why would God, who works from the inside out, try to answer from the outside looking in?
To read the next layer check out, Layers of Prayer (P. 2)- Inner Layer
(Can’t get enough posts? Check out my second blog Peeking Beneath)