Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Do You Define Prayer?

Last week I posted on how the dictionary definition of prayer does not cover what happened with Moses at the burning bush. There Moses had one of the most well known conversations with God. But should we call this conversation prayer? You tell me in the comments section or .

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Should Moses Experience at the Burning Bush be Called Prayer?

Part I: A Conversation With God

By Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I recently looked up the word "prayer" in several dictionaries. Just about every definition limited prayer to simply making requests known to God. Normally I would not argue with the dictionary but it seems as if something is missing from this definition. Then again I guess prayer more often than not is about asking and there is nothing wrong with that. After all the Bible tells us to make our requests known to God (Philippians 4:6). But if prayer is nothing more than asking God for things, what do we call the experiences of people like Moses?

Moses had an interesting and very different prayer life that began, not with him going into his closet and getting on his knees, but with a burning bush. If not for this early version of a flare Moses would have tended his father-in-law’s sheep and gone home after a good day's work. He likely never would have asked to go back to speak to the leaders of Israel and I doubt he would have asked if he could lead his kinsmen out of Egypt. In fact it was God who reached out to Moses, interrupting His life for one of the most well known conversations in history. This encounter had nothing to do with Moses asking for something. Yet, even without his asking, Moses’ conversation with God was the beginning of one of the greatest journeys taken by a man.

Should this be called prayer? It does not fit our normal definition of prayer, a definition that seems to exclude the idea of God making His requests known as He did with Moses. And yet without Him making the first move (for Moses a burning bush but for us: the cross), our prayer requests would go no further than the ground directly in front of us. In calling Moses to turn aside for a moment God gives us an opportunity to see how Moses became a great leader. From this example we see how our prayer life can be much more than simply asking. We see how our relationship with God can grow into something great. It all begins with Him making the first move.