God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’_ 2 Chronicles 7:12-18 (MSG)
Prayer is, perhaps, the most universally practiced, yet least understood of human experiences. Prayer is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. Its simplest definition is communication with God, yet so often we approach prayer like a one-way telephone conversation, forgetting that God also wants to speak to us. And how do we pray—on our knees or standing; silently or out-loud; alone or with others; by rote or spontaneously? And does prayer really induce God to manipulate events or otherwise act on our behalf?
Although the Bible does not take up these and other questions directly, prayer appears on nearly every page of God’s Word as the very essence of a faith relationship with the Almighty. Simple enough for a child to understand and yet so profound we may spend a lifetime plumbing its depths, prayer assumes that it is possible for us to have an intimate relationship with a God who not only hears and cares, but is willing and able to act.