What is Prayer?

By Oscar M. Baker

Now I’m going to repeat a phrase in this study many times because I want you to get it in your mind, and keep it there, and remember it. That phrase is, PRAY­ER IS THE BREATH OF THE NEW NATURE. Just as the Word is the food upon which the new nature must feed, so prayer is its breath. And breath sustains life as well as food, doesn’t it?

Prayer is the breath of the new nature. The act of breathing isn’t our constant concern. Well, what do we do about it when we’re sleeping? And so with prayer, we don’t need to worry about what it is, and we don’t need to worry about what it ought to be. We need not worry when it should be made, or about how it should be attempted or conditions under which it should be made. Just as breathing is the obtaining of pure air, and making use of it; so prayer should be a natural occupa­tion of the new nature. Be sure you have the new nature!

Prayer is the breath of the new nature. It doesn’t need any artificial props and helps --- anything of that kind. And you don’t have to put it on. It should be a spontaneous function of the new nature. Prayer is fellowship and conversation with God.

Prayer is the breath of the new nature. In fact it may be breathed and not spoken. It may be a groaning as with Israel in bondage. It may be a cry as with David. It may be even an inward, unheard cry. It may be a thought. It may be a moving of the lips as in the case of Hannah, who was unable to utter words aloud; she was so engrossed in what she wanted, and so anxious about it. Of course, the high priest saw her lips moving, and he thought she was drunk. Prayer may be a strong desire of the new nature, and it should be.

Prayer is the breath of the new nature. The new nature is a spirit that is in man. And it’s with this spirit that’s in man that the Holy Spirit witnesses that we are the children of God, as we find in Romans 8. This spirit should be occupied in prayer to God, that would be its natural inclination. And as with breathing, we should pray always, without ceasing. Don’t cease breathing! Don’t cease praying!

Prayer is the breath of the new nature. Would this make man [in the old nature] lower than the beasts? Yes it would. God has said as such is the estate of man. In Isaiah 1:3, God says that His own chosen People Israel do not know as much as the ox and the ass, because they know where the master’s crib is, but He says, “My People doth not consider.” So again we repeat, be sure you have the new nature!

[To be continued.]

From Truth For Today “Short Studies” tape, 3/29/83. Studies in this series are approximately 15 minutes in length.