Who said the first prayer?
To answer that question, we really need to know what we mean by prayer. The word 'pray' is no longer used in common English usage, apart from in religious circles. In the days of the great Bible translators, who first brought us the Bible in English, so that ordinary folk could read it, we used 'thee' and 'thou art' and other forms of speech no longer used. Someone might ask of another "I pray thee, grant me an hour that I may speak with thee". And so the idea of prayer has a sense of asking, even of pleading.
But our conversation with God is much more than asking. Rachel Hickson, in her book on prayer, gives it the title: 'Supernatural Communication'. Jesus said that we should speak to God as our father in heaven: 'Abba', meaning 'dad' or 'daddy'. And while we may ask our dad in heaven for all sorts of things, we also have conversation and talk about all sorts of things. Our dad just loves us to come and chat with him and share the day with him. And that includes all the 'hard' questions and tough requests.
And, as in any human father-child relationship, it was God, our father who spoke first. In the first chapter of Genesis, after he created us in his image, God speaks a blessing over us and tells us what he created us for: to rule over the earth and all its creatures, taking care of it (Genesis 1 v28). And even when we broke the special relationship with heaven through disobedience, it is God who speaks first, crying out "Where are you?" (Genesis 3 v9). It is God who continues to take the initiative, speaking through the prophets, and then through his Son (Hebrews 1 v1&2). It is while we were still weak and helpless, while we were still sinners and enemies of God, that Christ died for us, always acting first.
God always takes the risk and speaks and acts first, reaching out in love to everyone and paying the price for our redemption through his Son, Jesus.
God prayed first, and has continued down the ages to plead with us, to ask us to come into the peace he has bought so dearly for us all. Is it so hard for us to respond to his plea, and spend time with him and come to know him?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11 v28)
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