by Jay McMullan
As a boy who had just given his life to the Lord at the age of thirteen, I had a deep hunger for everything that God had for me. My first question as a Christian though was, “What is prayer?” To me, prayer was a deep mysterious thing that I was certain would take many years of learning to understand. Or, maybe prayer required some kind of spiritual “super keys” for the mystery to be unlocked. Not only did I struggle with what prayer is and how to tap into it but over the many years since I was saved, I see that many Christians suffer with the same questions.
I didn’t feel comfortable going to my pastor and I didn’t know anyone else that I felt like would understand prayer, except for Mrs. Riley! Down the street from the home where I grew up, was an elderly couple. He had worked for the “city”, rather the small town in which I lived but had suffered a major stroke. Mrs. Riley would sit him on the porch in his wheelchair on nice days and let him enjoy the weather and the goings on. Mrs. Riley was a quiet soul but you always knew she was firm in her faith toward Jesus Christ. She didn’t wear makeup, wore long dresses and put her hair in a bun on her head.
One day, when I saw Mr. and Mrs. Riley on their porch, I walked down to their house to talk to them. I explained to her that I had just given my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and I wanted to know how to pray. She went into the house and brought out two or three pieces of paper which were stapled together. She told me that, on these sheets of paper, prayer was explained and then she began to explain to me how prayer is, in the easiest definition, simply communion and fellowship with God. Well, it sounded too easy to me! I read the papers she had given me eagerly and then returned them, still not truly understanding what prayer was or how I was supposed to go about praying or what I was supposed to expect from my prayers. Thus began a long quest for me to understand prayer.
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