​Prayer for most of us is an exercise of asking God for what we want. Yet asking God for what we desire is limiting the God we serve to only being a benefactor, when He longs to be so much more. That is why we need to get to know who God is and get to know what He wants to do for us and in us. Our great God wanted us to know Him so much that He wrapped Himself in human flesh and came to dwell among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Even though it was over two thousand years ago, we can get still get to know Him as we read the pages of His life. The sixty-six books of the Bible reveal Him to us – and becoming acquainted with Him helps us approach Him in prayer.

We soon find that prayer is not just asking – but it is a communal part of a relationship built on a foundation of of love and trust. When we read the words:

For God so loved…(John 3:16)

This is the entry to beginning to understand that even the sacrifice of Christ coming into the world was an exhibition of the ultimate expression of love. For Jesus didn’t just come to be born as a cute little baby and grow up into a perfect life, He came to die…and not just to die but to die a sacrificial death for crimes He did not commit. We committed those crimes.

Thus as we prepare to pray we must first realize that those crimes that kept us from His presence should no longer have that kind of power. We can give all of those crimes to Jesus, past, present and future – and allow the grace of this sacrifice, His blood, to cleanse us from any penalty we owe. We must repent, and upon repentance, we are forgiven, and restored to a right relationship as a son or daughter of the Most High God.

Yet there may be something else that can separate us from fully enjoying our relationship and communion with God, that is not forgiving others:

"…That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins." Mark 11:24-25 (MSG)

When we are free of our sins, when we are free from holding sins against others – then and only then can we enjoy our time with the Father. We can then engage in sweet fellowship, in a holy conversation where we can talk to Him, and He will talk back to us. This is the ultimate expression of prayer- it goes beyond a "me-focused" monologue to a free-flowing communion which fulfills every area of our life, now and forever.

Maria