One of my favorite books on the topic of prayer is by the great author Walter Wangerin Jr. In Whole Prayer, Wangerin describes prayer as an activity in four parts. Prayer begins when we speak. And when we speak, God listens. Then God speaks, and if our prayer is whole, when God speaks, we will listen. The first three parts, he writes, exist in every prayer. It is the fourth that often keeps our prayer from being whole.
I find it interesting that in prayer related studies, the percentage of people who say they pray is consistently higher than the percentage claiming to be Christians. Yet even in the case of a non-Christian praying, God listens and he answers. God hears and responds to each and every prayer.
When you pray, do you expect God to answer? When I say “answer” I don’t mean he gives you what you ask for. I mean he replies to your questions, your joy and frustration, your celebration and pain. It’s important for us to understand the wholeness of prayer as we walk the journey of a disciple. A disciple knows God not as a distant all-powerful being on high but as Daddy. A disciple has a relationship with God and builds on the relationship through conversation with Him.