#15 (of 20) in the series, "Conversations About God," with Graham Maxwell.

“Talking to God As a Friend” — another look at the meaning and purpose of prayer — in the larger setting of the great controversy over the character and government of God.

If, as Jesus said, our Heavenly Father knows what our needs are even before we ask Him, what is the purpose of taking time to pray at all? This assumes, of course, that the primary purpose of prayer is to lodge our requests with God. But some prefer to understand prayer as conversation with God as with a Friend. Remember how Abraham and Moses talked to God, and God called them His friends. Remember how boldly but reverently Job agonized with God — to the consternation of Job's friends — and God was honored with his confidence. Truly the way we pray reveals the kind of Person we believe our God to be.

If the Father were to appear visibly among us, how would we address Him? What language would we use? Would we be too afraid to speak? Would we feel constrained to mention only the most lofty themes, or would we be free to talk candidly about what He already knows is in our hearts? Would it be easier to discuss such matters with the Son? Would it be more appropriate to speak or listen? How does one listen to the voice of God? And at the end of such a special meeting, would we feel that we ought to close the conversation with a "word of prayer"? Or would it be correct to realize that in talking to God as a Friend we have been praying all along?

Some day when we really see Him face to face, will that be the end of prayer? Is prayer yet another of God's emergency measures to keep open the lines of communication with His children until there is no need to talk together anymore? What do we mean when we sing, "Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer"?

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