Imagine you were about to meet someone famous — maybe the lead singer of your favorite band or actor or dancer you admire. Chances are you’d be nervous, wondering what to say or how to act. You wouldn’t want to make a fool of yourself by doing or saying something inappropriate.

Now imagine that you are just sitting around talking with your best friend. You don’t worry about what to say and do. You can be yourself; the talk flows freely.

These two situations illustrates something about the nature of prayer. On the one hand, prayer brings you into the presence of the King of the universe, the Lord and Creator of everything. That’s fairly intimidating! No wonder people feel tongue-tied when they pray. On the other hand, prayer is simple talking to your heavenly Father, the person who knows and loves you more than anyone else does.

When we talk with God, we can be ourselves. We don’t need to change how we talk to talk to Him.

Prayer also trains us to hear what God has to say to us. Listening to God requires more patience and more practice than talking to him. Yet when we listen to God, he provides guidance for as we seek his will. One caution: If you feel God is telling you to do something that is contrary to scripture, you have misunderstood. God never contradicts himself and his inspired word. Ask me or someone you may know who is a strong Christian for advice if you are not sure.

Time spent in the presence of God helps us to become more like him. Have you ever noticed that when two people spend a lot of time together, they begin to talk, act, and even think alike? (which is why you have to be careful about the friend you keep) The same principle applies to our relationship with God. The more we are with him, the more we become like him.

Prayer is more than simply asking God to give us what we want. Its living, active, and powerful communication with the Lord of all.

God doesn’t always remove problems from our lives. Many times he just provides the strength to deal with them.

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