Most of us were never taught how to pray. We just picked it up along the way by listening to those more experienced in the faith. And often the problem is we only learn the outward expressions of prayer. Even for those who have been taught, we tend to have a rather narrow view of prayer, focussed more on asking for things than any real sense of communion with God.
William Wilberforce, the 18th Century social reformer was a man who knew about busyness; he sacrificed his life and his health for the sake of abolishing the slave trade. But he was also by necessity a man of prayer. And he recognised that prayer was not simply a means of achieving an end, it was the source of life. He wrote “The shortening of devotions starves the soul, it grows lean and faint.” If prayer is nourishment for the soul, there is a danger that many of us are essentially malnourished.
Over the coming months we are going to be exploring the riches of prayer in the Christian tradition.