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(exerpted from ELCA.org)
Prayer is simply, yet profoundly, human communication with God. It is God’s invitation, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to keep lines of communication open between creature and creator.
The Biblical witness provides numerous examples of God responding to the
faithful’s prayers — even to changing God’s intended course of action (e.g.
Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:22-33, and, at Moses’
plea, God spares those who worship the golden calf in Exodus 32:11-14). Thus,
prayer can be a kind of conversion experience for both
God and humankind. It is an act of stewardship and a way in which we join God as
co-creators of the future. Stewards, after all, are appointed agents to
ELCA Lutherans believe that as God has and continues to speak intimately to us through
so it is through prayer that we may respond to, initiate and continue
conversation with God.
ELCA Lutherans direct their prayers to God in Jesus' name only... We believe that,
inspired by the Holy Spirit, our prayers move from our hearts to God’s, and that
God truly listens and responds. Furthermore, to pray in Jesus' name means more
than making sure our petitions reach the right destination. It means to pray as
Jesus would - to ask that his longings and desires for the world become ours.
Prayer in Jesus’ name is asking God to convert us more deeply into the mind and
love of Christ. Jesus tells us in Luke 11:9-10 to persevere in our prayer, to "ask and it will be given you, search and you will find, knock and the door will
be opened for you." If we persevere — even when we experience what appears to be
silence or rejection — Jesus’ promise is that God’s word will come to us as a
response to our prayers. However, we know that response may not always be what
we want or think we should hear. It may not come on our timetable, may be
puzzling and even unwelcome sometimes. Even when we choose to tune out God’s
response, we have Jesus’ promise that God has heard our prayers and will open
doors that answer them — occasionally showing us paths beyond those we have
imagined, leading to where we would not have ventured.