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What is Christian prayer?

Christian prayer is a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith, serving as a means of communication with God and a way to bring forth His kingdom on Earth. In this article, we explore the various facets of Christian prayer and delve into its significance in the lives of believers.

Key Takeaways

  • Christian prayers often have a transactional nature, where believers ask God for something in return.

  • Daily devotional practices play a significant role in the prayer life of Christians, providing a structured way to connect with God on a daily basis.

  • Prayer is a powerful tool for Christians to bring forth the kingdom of God on Earth by embodying the values and teachings of Jesus.

  • Effective ways to pray involve seeking God's will and aligning oneself with His purpose, rather than solely focusing on personal requests.

  • Prayer serves as a form of communication with God, allowing believers to deepen their relationship with Him and understand His desires for their lives.

Understanding Christian Prayer

Transactional Nature of Christian Prayers

In the practice of Christian prayer, the transactional nature often comes to the forefront. Believers approach God with their needs and desires, hoping for a positive intervention. Whether it's for healing, relief from pain, or the provision of necessities like a job, these prayers are a request for God's action in the believer's life.

Transactional prayers are not merely requests; they are expressions of faith. Believers trust that God will respond to their prayers in some capacity, aligning with His will and purpose. However, it's important to recognize that such prayers can sometimes become one-sided, focusing solely on personal gain or comfort.

  • Prayer as a request for intervention

  • Prayer as an act of faith

  • The risk of self-centeredness

Daily Devotional Practices

In the rhythm of Christian life, daily devotional practices are a cornerstone for personal spirituality. These practices often involve reading a passage from the Bible, reflecting on its meaning, and offering prayers that resonate with the day's theme. Daily devotionals serve as a spiritual anchor, helping believers to maintain a consistent connection with God amidst the busyness of life.

Devotionals are not just about the act of praying, but also about cultivating a habit of mindfulness and presence before God. They can take various forms:

  • A structured prayer at a specific time of day

  • Reflecting on a scriptural passage

  • Writing in a prayer journal

  • Silent meditation and contemplation

Bringing Forth the Kingdom of God

In the pursuit of bringing forth the Kingdom of God, Christians are encouraged to view prayer not just as a petition for personal needs, but as a strategic engagement in God's plan. Prayer is an opportunity to align one's will with the divine purpose, seeking guidance on how to act as conduits of God's love and righteousness in the world.

  • Seek clarity on God's will rather than personal desires.

  • Ask for strength and resources to fulfill God's mission.

  • Embrace the role of being a vessel through which God can work.

By praying in this manner, believers can contribute to the manifestation of God's kingdom on Earth, transforming prayer from a self-centered activity into a selfless partnership with the divine.

Effective Ways to Pray

In the pursuit of effective prayer, Christians are encouraged to look beyond the transactional nature of asking and receiving. Prayer should be a means of deepening one's relationship with God, not just a way to fulfill personal desires. Here are some practical steps to enhance the quality of your prayers:

  • Begin by praying without any requests, focusing solely on God's presence.

  • Dedicate time each day to express gratitude for the blessings in your life.

  • Communicate your love and adoration for God openly.

  • Engage in worship, using music as a conduit for praise.

  • Intercede on behalf of others, bringing their needs before God.

  • Invite God to work through you to positively influence the lives of others.

Prayer as Communication with God

Christian prayer is fundamentally about fostering an intimate connection with the divine. It is a practice where believers engage in a dialogue with God, expressing their deepest thoughts, desires, and concerns. Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God, as author Henri Nouwen poignantly described. This personal and experiential aspect of prayer transcends mere ritual, becoming a pilgrimage of the spirit in the presence of the divine.

  • Prayer is an individual journey, a step beyond oneself.

  • It is a conversation held in the privacy of one's heart with the Beloved.

  • Through prayer, Christians seek to align their will with that of God.

The effectiveness of prayer is not measured by the eloquence of words but by the sincerity of the heart. It is not about impressing God with verbose petitions but about opening oneself to divine grace. In the simplicity of prayer, we find a profound way to experience God's presence and to participate in the unfolding of His will.

The Personal and Experiential Nature of Prayer

Christian prayer transcends mere ritual or formula; it is a deeply personal and experiential journey. Prayer is an intimate act, a pilgrimage of the spirit that involves a 'going out of one’s self' to be in the presence of God. This personal aspect of prayer is not just a communal or societal expression but an individual's volitional movement towards a sacred communion.

Prayer is often accompanied by acts of sacrifice, suggesting its dual role as both a personal and cultic practice. The sacrificial act, which may precede or prolong prayer, is seen as a tangible expression of the desire to connect with the divine.

The nature of prayer is such that it cannot be fully explained by its social or communal aspects alone:

  • It originates from an inner, personal calling.

  • It is shaped by, yet distinct from, collective religious practices.

  • It involves both speaking to and listening for the divine, balancing speech with silence.


In conclusion, Christian prayer is a fundamental aspect of the faith that plays a crucial role in the spiritual life of believers. It serves as a means of communication with God, a tool for understanding His will, and a way to bring forth His kingdom on Earth. While there may be challenges with transactional prayers, the essence of prayer lies in seeking God's guidance and aligning with His divine purpose. Through prayer, Christians can deepen their relationship with God and strive to fulfill His desires in their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary nature of Christian prayers?

Christian prayers are primarily transactional, where believers ask God for something in return with faith that their request will be fulfilled in some capacity.

What are some common requests in Christian prayers?

Common requests in Christian prayers include healing for the sick, relief for those who are hurting, and provision of needs like jobs, better relationships, and coping with stress and anxiety.

What are daily devotional practices in Christian prayer?

Christians often engage in daily devotional practices, which include prayers for each day along with reflections on passages from the Christian Bible.

How can Christians bring forth the kingdom of God through prayer?

Christians can bring forth the kingdom of God by embodying the fruit of the Spirit and applying it in their lives, acting as vessels for God's will on Earth.

What is the effective way to pray as a Christian?

The effective way to pray as a Christian is to focus on understanding God's wishes and carrying them out, seeking to bring the kingdom of heaven to Earth.

What is the personal and experiential nature of prayer in Christianity?

Prayer in Christianity is described as a personal and experiential act that goes beyond critical analysis, serving as a means of communication and communion with God.

Why is transactional prayer common among Christians?

Transactional prayers, where believers ask God for intervention, are common as they seek positive outcomes and blessings from God for various aspects of their lives.

How can prayer be a tool for Christians to understand God better?

Prayer serves as a tool for Christians to deepen their understanding of God's will, enabling them to act as warriors for God and bring His kingdom to Earth.


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