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91- What does Prayer mean to the Christian?
Christian prayer is something distinct and different from other conceptions of prayer. It is distinct in that it is offered in the name of Jesus Christ; that is, the believer dares to approach God because God has first approached him in Jesus Christ, revealing in Jesus His love and His mercy. Man speaks to God because he knows that God loves him personally and seeks his good. We do not pray in order to "make use of God"; we pray in order that God may make use of us!--and that He may make us useful to our fellow-men.
So the Christian does not think of prayer as a matter of "reciting prayers", he thinks of it rather as a conversation with God. We hear God's word in the Bible, and we reply by our prayer and our everyday obedience. We do not think it essential to memorise a set form of words in a special language--our prayer is more like a child speaking to his father. Of course we must come to our Father with all reverence; as created beings, weak and sinful, we come humbly before our Creator, and dare simply to open our hearts and speak! In our prayer we express:
--our gratitude (our "thank you") for everything that each day brings, for all God's gifts--of health and material blessings as well as the love of friends;
--our penitence (our "forgive me") for all evil thoughts, for all actions which may have harmed someone;
--and our intercession (our "please") spreading out our wants before our Lord, as a child tells his father how he is and what he needs for his life and work.