John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Defining Prayer

So, I've been talking about prayer a bit lately on the old, blog. But my friend Iz has an interesting question, and I'd love to hear your take on it. He writes:

What is prayer? I mean we say we pray through headlines (20 minutes?) or on the morning run (45 min) ? but Jesus spent the night in prayer. asking the Spirit to teach me more about communion with the trinity…maybe this is prayer ? I know my prayers have far too much talking and rarely enough listening.

Jesus did spend the night in prayer -- a couple of times that we know of. The Apostle Paul told the early Christians that they ought to "pray without ceasing". Typically, prayers -- especially public prayers -- involve one-way communication. One person stands and talks to God -- telling him a bunch of stuff he already knows. When someone gets asked to "say the prayer", they're not being asked to listen for God's side of the conversation, are they?

So, what is prayer really?