What is Adoration? (What is prayer? Pt 1)

any questions? what is prayer?


As Christians, there is a need to speak with God. A defining feature of the Christian God is the fact that we can communicate with him and have a relationship with him. In Fact, we can speak with him on a whole range of subjects. We aren’t limited to a pattern or a script. I’m sure you are all aware that we reject the common book of prayer in favour of open prayer. This is because at the most fundamental level we can speak to God as someone would speak with a friend. Some other religions, God is a big scary being that must not be spoken to outside of the words of a holy book. Muslims have the Koran and pray far more diligently that we do with 5 daily prayers. however, we don’t have this diligence or a need to pray in the same way.

Prayer can commonly split into four ways: Adoration: Praising God, Confession: Asking for God’s forgiveness, Thanksgiving: Showing God gratitude, Supplication: Asking God for erthly needs.

Now I’m not going to say that the structure is to be stuck to or that you have to pray in these 4 parts. In a lot of cases we need to pray a prayer of thanksgiving, or in a case where we find ourselves in great trials, we may need to have a dual prayer of adoration and supplication. This week we are looking at the first one which is adoration.

Why do we need to adore him?

deep love and respect. Worship; veneration. This is the definition of adoration, however. As we were looking at what is a Christian we can see that the key purpose is to worship God. But how does that materialise in the form of adoration? Why do we need to do it? If God is all knowing and all understanding then why would God need us to tell him in prayer what we think of him? If you spoke to a friend the way we spoke to God then it would be flattery. Are we trying to make God feel good before we then start asking tough questions in confession and in Positioning? If this is why you are saying these words then they are as empty as the words of the Pharisees. It’s a waste of time then.

Well no it’s not because if we really mean the words then it’s not a reminder to God but a reminder to us and a reminder to the ones around us. We also would say that it would be wrong for someone not to start some of the truths about God. “Who art in heaven” is a great quote to the hight and the grandness of God the father.

Are we using empty words seeing as God doesn’t need to hear them?

When we praise God for being a creator it’s not that God has forgotten what he has done for us in creation. But it’s not that God needs to hear it either but we can sometimes see that by calling God the creator then makes problems of the worlds become a lot smaller when we address them to the one who created the universe around the problems.

If a friend is diagnosed with cancer is it that God lost control or he made a mistake. If God was not adored then we in a sense are only asking God to work a miracle. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to do it. Maybe it is out of control? Contrast this with a prayer that opens with “God the Creator, the one who formed the body and the soul and has our birth and life planned out from before the formation of the earth”. We can see that all things are in his control and we can be put to rest by this. Without adoration we are shrinking God to a wishing well where we ask for and give thanks.

Can we flatter God?

Flattery is where we say empty words to please a person. Generally, it’s not true and we are only wanting to make them feel better so that they can give us something in return.

If I was setting up a businessman setting up coffee shops I would say this adoration part so that God will then give me the customers and the business know how to run them all. But I would shower God in these empty words so that my request is more genuine.

But prayer doesn’t work that way because God can see straight through the heart and knows how we think. There is nothing wrong with opening a chain of coffee shops or asking God for wisdom and guidance in running them. You should not feel like you have to say them but you should keep in mind that prayer is a privilege and that God desires to hear. Your heart and mind should be constantly desiring to pray to God because it would be odd to do otherwise. To remembering how high above us God then allows us to confess, give thanks and request from God on a better foot than one who only requests and give thanks.

The woebots are coming

Well, I suppose some people would find it more attractive. Some do prefer to access counselling online, talking to a counsellor by means of live chat. In fact Relate, the UK’s biggest relationship charity, provided 15,000 online counselling sessions last year, and the service was so popular that there was demand for twice that number. The need is clearly there and this seems to be one way to meet it. Aidan Jones, chief executive of Relate, is quoted as saying, ‘Our counsellors tell me because it is more anonymous, people will start to explain what their issue is faster than if they were in a counselling room.’ Online chat appears to offer a ‘safe distance’ between counsellor and counsellee which cuts down on embarrassment and reduces barriers to sharing difficult issues.

In fact the next stage in anonymity is being contemplated – so-called ‘woebots’, robot counsellors which remove the need for any human involvement. Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) mean that these ‘chatbots’ can interact with human individuals or couples to offer a kind of help in sorting out relationship difficulties. This would be most readily provided where counselling consists mainly of reflecting back in different or clearer terms to the counsellee what he has just said. If counselling is to be non-directive, as some approaches insist it must be, then maybe robots could do all that’s needed. It is not that services like Relate are seeking to dispense with human counsellors entirely, but they do aim to offer a range of possibilities, including face to face contact, discussion via web cam, live chats and also robots. If it can be done, you can be sure someone will offer it.

Such developments ought to give Christians pause for thought, especially pastors and elders and any called to a distinctively caring ministry. Our culture may be more inhibited where expression of emotion is concerned, and the person who quickly pours out his or her problems to almost total strangers is an embarrassment to most of us, but perhaps there are lessons to be learned. We are called to bear one another’s burdens and we are to show the love of Christ to those still outside the kingdom. But how comfortable do even those within the kingdom feel about sharing burdens? How ready would they be to open up to those provided by the Lord to care for them in the congregation? Might they more easily confide in strangers? Might the anonymity of a woebot prove attractive if one were available? Can we dismiss the possibility out of hand?

Questions of trustworthiness and approachability inevitably loom large when the burdens of others are to be dealt with. Can the Lord’s people trust one another to deal wisely and confidentially with whatever is confided to them? In a small church, often closely interrelated, that is a real issue. If people hear the business of others being freely discussed, why would they conclude that their confidences will be respected? Before sensitive information is shared, the prospective helper or counsellor will be carefully weighed up: is this someone who will listen to me with sympathy and understanding (but not agreeing with me simply to be ‘nice’), and will whatever I say be kept confidential? If the answer to either question is ‘No’ then burdens will not be shared, or some other place to share them will be found. As pastors and elders in particular weigh up the condition of their people, they may easily forget that the people are also weighing them up and drawing conclusions about how readily they would seek help from them. It is a privilege to be the recipient of burdens and concerns that have sometimes been shared with no-one else, not even close friends, but it is a privilege that must be earned.

Increasingly the church is regarded as having nothing to offer as far as dealing with the hard issues of life are concerned. Recourse to a minister, common in earlier days, has often been replace by visiting a GP, adding to his burdens and perhaps taking him beyond his competence, especially in an appointment of a few minutes’ duration. Before the woebots take over, God’s people, and especially the leaders of God’s people, need to manifest the Christ-like love, compassion, wisdom and conviction that will draw the burdened and offer them the grace of our all-sufficient Saviour.