Why And How Should We Pray?

Charlotte Kelly

Charlotte Kelly

Orion Campus Discipleship Director

Growing up, prayers were introduced to me as rote memorized words that were repeated regularly to God. Some were recited daily, like grace before meals. Others were generally reserved for our corporate weekly gatherings and were exhorted together out loud.

Since my first introduction to prayer, I have grown in my understanding and practice of talking with God. My time spent in prayer is so rewarding and fulfilling that I often forget how many years it has taken for God to lead me into this rich and meaningful practice of spending time with Him.

So, what is prayer?

People pray in all cultures, and everyone prays in a crisis. Why do we do that?

I grew in my understanding of prayer through a course called Alpha. For more than 20 years, millions of people have taken the Alpha course to explore life and faith in a friendly, open and informal environment. Kensington offers an 8-week session, starting this month, designed to explore foundational questions of the Christian faith over a shared meal while getting to know people. It is for everyone, regardless of backgrounds or beliefs. One of the Alpha speakers, Nicky Gumball, sums up the importance of prayer perfectly: “Prayer is the most important activity of our lives. It’s the very purpose for which we were actually made: to have a love relationship with God. And all love relationships thrive on communication. The more we communicate, the more we grow in love, the more our love flourishes. And it’s the same in our relationship with God.”

It’s that simple! Prayer is communicating with God. There isn’t another way to grow in love. It would be weird to expect to grow closer to God without communicating with him. It would also be weird to rely exclusively on a one-way conversation, without giving God some time to speak as well.

Why pray?

We pray to have access to God the Father! He is creator and lover of our souls! His love for each of us is complete, unconditional, and beyond our wildest hopes. Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through Jesus we both (Jew and Gentile) have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

We also pray because there are rewards. Matthew 6:6 tells us, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”.

And we pray because there are results. Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

OK, I’m going to be honest, this is where I sometimes get caught up. Does God really reward prayers? And is it true that there are always results from our prayers? Doesn’t it seem like the “results” are arbitrary and inconsistent at best, and absent at worst!? I won’t lie, this is something I have to continually wrestle with. Maybe you’re like me, and your prayer time often feels more like a wrestling match than a polite conversation. There was a time I would have been embarrassed to admit that because I thought it was a weakness and that I lacked faith.

But I have learned that God can handle anything I bring to him, including my doubts, fears, confusion and anger. It was when I learned to pray in complete honesty that my love relationship with God became real and deep. I can trust God to know me completely and love me completely. It doesn’t make sense to try hiding parts of myself from him!

So, what is the truth in these scriptures? Here’s what I find to be true. God does reward us. His rewards are: His presence, peace, perspective, and power!

And there are results from prayer. God answers prayers with “yes,” “no” or “wait.” He may not be comparable to a genie in a bottle who grants our every wish exactly how we hoped. But, I don’t believe that is what He promised. When we ask, knock, and seek, we will find. We will find God! And that is our true and ultimate joy.

jacob hawkins

Finally, how should we pray?

Do you struggle with where to start or what to say or do when you pray? I’ll conclude with this simple format suggested in the Alpha talk on prayer. THANK YOU. SORRY. PLEASE. (And then, don’t forget to wait and listen. God just might have some things to say to you as well!)

Prayer is one of the many topics we dig into during the Alpha course. We have Fall Alpha courses kicking off at Birmingham, Troy, Orion and Clinton Township campuses. Come join us to share a meal, watch an Alpha talk, and have interesting discussions at your table around weekly topics like prayer, the bible, how God guides us, and more. Everyone is welcome, and no questions or ideas are out of bounds. Learn more and register at www.kensingtonchurch.org/alpha

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Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

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Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

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What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

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updated June 23, 2021

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