Things that are good but are not prayer
First, may I say that I don’t believe that all communication with God is prayer. Meditation is good and useful but it is not prayer. Thinking about praying is not prayer. Have you ever heard some church member say to someone who is sick or has some other problem “I’ll be thinking about you”? I would rather you pray for me than to think about me. I don’t believe that all verbal communication with God is prayer.
Praise is the natural outpouring of the believer who contemplates the person of God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Praise is commanded over and over in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments, but praise is not prayer.
Thanksgiving is also commanded, and every person alive has much to be thankful for, but thanksgiving is not prayer. Praise and thanksgiving ought to accompany prayer but they are not prayer.
Quoting verses of scripture to God is not necessarily prayer. Of course one could quote a prayer or read one from the Bible and if it was heart felt and it expressed your request to God that would be fine. But as a general rule, quoting verses to God is not prayer.
Listening to someone else pray is not prayer. It is not accurate to say “we prayed for you” when one prayed and scores more listened to him pray. Yes, you can pray along silently as someone else prays aloud but the likely case is that most are just listening.
I challenge you to take the time to study the great prayers of the Bible. Prayer was always asking and everything else was along with, or in addition to prayer. The Lord’s Prayer that we learned as a child is all asking. Paul’s prayers for the churches to whom he wrote were all asking. Jesus prayers were all asking. Yet in spite of this plain truth, many teach that it is selfish to ask and that we should not ask in prayer.
From the first time supplication is mentioned in the Bible to the last time, it almost always in conjunction with prayer. Most often the order is “prayer and supplication”. So prayer is different than supplication. The primary meaning of the word translated in English as supplication focuses on the need of the supplicant, or the state of being needy. Prayer verbalizes that need. In my best judgment this would be an example of prayer and supplication. I say to God “Please save my neighbor, I don’t want him to go to hell. I want to see him have the same peace and joy I have as your child. Please save him for your glory”. I prayed when I asked God to save my neighbor, the rest was supplication.
We should give praise to God, we should give thanks in everything, and we should in supplication express our neediness and the desires of our heart. But we must also ask God for what we want from Him if we intend to get anything.
The Bible kind of prayer is asking! And everything other than asking is not prayer. If you want something from God, Ask!
Grace and Peace,