I set my alarm this morning for 6 AM in order to get some time by myself for reading and prayer. My youngest daughter Avery must have read my mind because she beat me to the wake-up at 5:30 or so. I ended up having some time of silence and prayer on a walk all around the neighborhood. I was reminded that sometimes God gives unexpected gifts even when it appears that they were taken away. I probably prayed more for Avery during that walk than I have in all of 2007.
I was also reminded of the necessity of prayer this morning during my reading for Company of New Pastors. I read two questions in the PC(USA) study catechism about prayer. I experienced many aspects of the first of the two questions this morning.
Question 120. What is prayer?
Prayer means calling upon God whose Spirit is always present with us. In prayer we approach God with reverence, confidence, and humility. Prayer involves both addressing God in praise, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication, and listening for God's word within our hearts.
When we adore God, we are filled with wonder, love and praise before God's heavenly glory, not least when we find it hidden in the cross of Golgotha.
When confessing our guilt to God, we ask for forgiveness with humble and sorry hearts, remembering that God is gracious as well as holy.
When giving thanks to God, we acknowledge God's great goodness, rejoicing in God for all that is so wonderfully provided for us.
Finally, when calling upon God to hear our requests, we affirm that God draws near in every need and sorrow of life, and ask God to do so again.
Psalm 96:8-9 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.