Whether you’re a new believer, or you’re simply looking to grow in your relationship with God, prayer is absolutely essential in your pursuit.
There are a few different reasons why we pray, and today we will dig into why prayer is important, what its purpose is, and how you can pray.
It goes without saying that any healthy, functioning relationship requires communication.
The closer we grow to someone, the more we trust them and share our lives with them.
We share our highs and lows. We share our struggles and our hopes. We share our thoughts and needs.
And so much more.
When it comes to our relationship with God, it requires communication too. God is not a distant power far away from us.
He is a relational God who sent His Son to bear our sins so that we could be reconciled to Him. Before Christ we were completely alienated from God.
But in Christ, we not only are forgiven of our sins but we have peace with God. Peace that has adopted us as sons and daughters of God.
That’s the beauty of the gospel!
Through Christ we now have access to God. One of the ways we cultivate our relationship with God is through prayer.
What is prayer? Praying is simply put, a conversation with God. We come to Him, and pour out our lives to Him.
It is how we communicate with God. Often you’ll hear it said that God speaks to us through the bible and we speak to God through prayer.
So Why Is It Important To Pray?
God commands it
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The word of God is God’s spoken words given to us in written form.
When we read a command from scripture, we are not reading suggestions, but rather instructions from God for us to follow.
When we pray we are responding to God both in faith, but also in obedience. Prayer is not something we do when we feel like it.
It is something that truly God uses to change our hearts, and discipline us. God created prayer, especially for us to communicate with Him.
He desires to hear from us.
Jesus modeled it
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
It always amazes me just how devoted Jesus was to prayer. It was very clear that His relationship with the Father was His priority.
It truly humbles us, and makes us realize that if Jesus, the Son of God spent time in prayer, how much more should we be spending time in prayer?
Jesus modeled prayer to us. Even after a busy day of teaching, and spending time with
the crows, Jesus would retreat to a quiet place to pray.
We read that He often woke up early, or when it was still dark to pray.
It grows our relationship with God
When we pray, we demonstrate that our trust and reliance is on God. It is easy to make decisions, and to live our lives without consulting God.
Sometimes we can go through the motions and forget that it is ultimately God who directs our steps.
Through prayer, our relationship with God grows. We learn to trust Him, to confide in Him, to seek His face in times of joy and in times of trouble.
Through prayer we can draw near to God, and ask Him to change our hearts and lives. Through prayer we surrender to God’s will, and lay down our own.
It grows us
As our relationship with God grows through devoted prayer, we grow too.
It’s always good to keep in mind that prayer isn’t a way for us to twist God’s arm to get what we want, to have our will done.
Prayer is a way for God to move our hearts, and for us to seek His will.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t bring our desires and needs before God.
We can, and the word encourages us to make our requests known to God.
How should we pray?
Though there is no one way that we must pray, God’s word does give us guidance on prayer.
It tells us that we should pray without being anxious, we should pray about all things, and we should pray at all times.
In other words, when we wake up, or go to sleep at night, we can talk to God.
When we are in the middle of a task, or we are taking a walk we can pray.
If we are preparing for a test, raising children, applying for jobs, or struggling with an illness. We can pray to God.
At all times, and for all things. We can also find plenty of things to pray for as we read the word.
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He taught them what we know today as the Lord’s Prayer.
The purpose of the prayer wasn’t simply for them to memorize it, and repeat it daily.
Rather, it serves as a guide that helps us see what to pray for, and how we can structure our prayers.
There are a few components that are easy to spot as you read through the Lord’s Prayer.
Jesus includes worship, confession, submission, and requests.
The Lord’s Prayer is a great way to learn how to pray, and what to pray for, if you’re not sure where to start.
God doesn’t desire us to merely parrot these words back to Him daily. He desires for us to share our hearts, and trust in Him.
The Lord’s Prayer
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom comes, You will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
- Jesus begins His prayer by addressing God. We see there is a personal relationship here. God is our father, who is in heaven, who we get to talk to, and who hears us.
- Still at the beginning of the prayer, Jesus fixed His eyes on God the Father and hallowed His name. This simply means that He honored God, or gave Him praise. When we start our prayers by giving God praise and simply focusing on who He is, He begins to change our hearts.
- It’s interesting that Jesus goes on to ask for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. When we come to God in prayer it is tempting to come with a long list of our own agendas. But He reminds us to seek God’s will above our own.
- Jesus knows that we have needs. He welcomes us to ask God, and make our requests known. It is interesting to see how this wasn’t at the top of the list, although many times it is the first thing we may be tempted to pray about. It’s important for us to remember that God knows what we need before we even ask for it. Though it is important for us to pray about our needs. It is also important to remember that we ought to seek God not only for what He can do for us.
- God’s word says in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins to Him, He is just to forgive us of our sins. As Christians, we will sin, and we will have a lifelong journey of sanctification. But when we sin we don’t have to hide from God. We can come to Him in repentance and find forgiveness and grace. Just as He forgives us, we are told to forgive others of their sins towards us as well.
- Finally, Jesus ends His prayer by asking God to protect us from temptation and the evil one. This serves as a reminder that we are in a real and active spiritual battle each day. In our own strength, we cannot fight against the enemy. It is through Christ that we are victorious.
I hope that this has helped you learn how to pray!
As you read the bible you will find many things that you can pray for, and that you can hold onto.
Remember you can pray at any time, for anything, and God hears you.