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Perhaps the best definition of Prayer is what Hannah says in 1 Samuel 1:15-16; the outpouring of one's soul before God.
Church Leader Pearls found in Pew Research that 68% of Christians pray more than once a day. 90% say they pray silently. 92% of their prayers are for God’s guidance and giving thanks. 72% of their prayers are for help with specific disease. Only 41% feel that the purpose of prayer is intimacy with God. 43% of Christians say that their prayers are answered often. 79% say that when their prayers are not answered, it is because it is not in the plan of God to answer those prayers. What is your experience and in which category would you count yourself?
"Prayer is an effort of will. The great battle in private prayer is the swarming of mental wool-gathering. We must have a selected place for prayer and when we get there, the plague of the flies begins. This must be done and that is, Shut The Door. A secret silence means shut the door deliberately on emotions and remember God".
The Bible teaches us to meditate by being in deep thought before God. We are to ponder, consider, to think deeply about the word of God (Josh 1:8; Psalms 1:2; 77:12); its central person - Jesus Christ, and his commands and teachings (John 5:39; 1 Tim 4:15).
The purpose of meditation for the follower of Christ is to strengthen us to be diligent in our duties to God, and to respect his ways (Psalm 119:15). Like our prayers, Christian meditation is our communication with God, in the Name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14), with the help of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26). Only the Holy Spirit can probe God's depths.
Church Leader Pearls contends that Christian meditation is therefore different to the meditation practised in yoga or certain martial arts or in transcendental meditation. In these, the goal of meditation is to reach a higher state of consciousness and connect in oneness with the ultimate, absolute force; or to reach a silent state of mental clarity and heightened awareness called peace. This is not the way of a believer in Jesus Christ. Besides, Peace is a person - Jesus Christ. These are the kinds of challenges and false teachings churches face.
Christians pray more than they meditate; and read the bible more than they meditate. Church Leader Pearls believes that these main means of communication with God – prayer and bible reading and meditation, aim not only at engaging with Christ, but also at transforming our thoughts, aspirations and actions - to align with the truth Christ proclaimed about God, the Holy Spirit, and himself.