Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer is based on an assumption: We believe God hears and is able and willing to respond to what we say. Prayer in its purest form assumes a relationship. In its best form, it assumes a relationship of friendship. Friendship in the Bible friendship was not merely a relationship of affinity. Friendship came with a commitment codified by a covenant. Each side knew exactly what to expect and what was expected of them. God made a friendship covenant with us and in that arrangement established clearly what we could count on and what he’d require from us. The privilege to talk to and with God has always been the foundation of a relationship with him. It’s a legally established right. In other words, friendship with God can be a certainty and the dialog can rest on predictable terms. It’s not a stretch; you can say, “I am God’s friend” and talk with him accordingly.

Psalm 143 is a song written by King David. It’s a poem about friendship, where David acts on the certainty that he can relate with God in an intimate way. In the first line David calls on God to answer his appeal because he knows God to be faithful and righteous.

Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea!
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.

 We pray beginning with one established fact: God is faithful and good! He’s told us ahead of time what he is and what he will do. Before I appeal to God with my requests I remember – to him – that he is good and will always keep his word. I remember that I am – officially – his friend. I can bank on the predictability of his loyalty and shoot straight knowing I can predict his response. Friendship is the basis of our communication.  

Today, as I pray, I begin with a statement: “You are faithful and right!” Sometimes, this is hard to say.  Perhaps my emotions doubt that God really is good. But I muster my faith, and speak this truth based on his promises.

Try beginning your prayer today with this first line of Psalm 143. Whatever other elements you express in prayer, you begin with a certain friendship.

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