John Bunyan defines prayer as:
"a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to his Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God"
With such a great privilege before us, why do we (read 'I') struggle so much? So often, my prayers are distracted, apathetic and I feel as if I've given God a 'shopping list'. If this is you, then I want to recommend Richard Coekin's recent book 'Our Father: Enjoying God in Prayer'. One of the joys of Relay with UCCF is we are given a number of IVP books during the year. This is the first I've tackled and finished (two very different things!). And what a book!
'Our Father' draws you back to considering God, setting our sights on who he is; his name, his purposes and his grace to us. The book's simplicity is found in that it takes us back to the 'Our Father' as a basis for praying. Each chapter focuses on a verse from the prayer, teaching us what it means and how we could pray this in on a daily basis.
Easy results are not promised, but the book’s advice to learn from the prayer that Jesus taught couldn't be more straightforward to put into practice. In praying through the prayer, we are drawn first to consider God's character, his name YHWH and his goodness to us in Jesus Christ. We then are committing ourselves to his kingdom's extension, to his will in our lives and the world. So straight up, shopping lists are dispensed with! And then in the second half of the prayer, we see how to depend on our Father for every need we have, confident in who he is and his character.
So buy the book, and enjoy God in prayer.