The Word of God says: Devote yourself in prayer.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2
The same Word also commands us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And the question is why?
There are many reasons why God insists on prayer. One of them being that prayer brings about a difference and elicits change in our lives.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 33:3 “call to me and I will answer”, and this isn’t only a call or invitation to speak with our Father, but also a promise that whatever we ask in His name, He will give to us, according to His plan.
Prayer is a powerful tool, a way into the holy presence of God, a gift, a given access to God’s ears and a chance not only to listen, but to speak in dialogue with God.
That is why I want to start by saying that prayer is not only for the elders of the church, pastors and preachers. Prayer is for all the children of God, young and old, no matter how much or little you know about Christianity or if you are day one in your walk with the Lord or day 1,000. God is ready and willing to listen and communicate with all that choose to come to Him through prayer.
Now that we have established the fact that we are all welcome to speak with our King, the next question is how? In what attire should we present ourselves before Him? The answer is weaved throughout Scripture.
Seek the Lord with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
Pray about everything. – Philippians 4:6-7
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. – Matthew 6:7
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. – Matthew 18:20
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:6
The Heart of Prayer
God takes quite seriously the place you give Him in your life, which is why it is not just enough to sit in a room for one hour and blab many words. The position of your heart and the intention behind your prayers matter just as much, if not more, than the words you express. That is why a person who prayed for five minutes in faith towards God has done more than the one who has become used to prayer and spends two hours repeating faithless words.
In Scripture, Jesus revealed that the heart of prayer should be God-centered. In the New Testament when the Pharisees had devout knowledge of God, it was pointless because they did not have a heart-change toward the Lord.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. – Matthew 6:5
Vulnerability in Prayer
God answers those who call to Him. God may know everything about us, including our hearts, desires and thoughts, but He also says in His word “ask and it shall be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). He wants us to be vulnerable with Him, through our prayer, opening up the deepest parts of our hearts, which allows us to strengthen our relationship with Him.
In the Bible, there is an emphasis on asking God through prayer for what we want. When we approach God with our desires through prayer, it demonstrates our choice in believing in Him and putting our trust in Him, instead of in ourselves or others. He honors those who do ask and pray to Him.
God will answer you because He has a plan for you and He wants the best for you. Your success is His gain as well because you are His ambassador. He will ensure that you represent Him well.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. – John 15:16
Not only are we able to bring anything to the Lord when we pray, but when we are unable to find the right words or voice our thoughts and desires, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. No matter the circumstance or the words, or lack of words, God hears and understands our hearts.
Don’t be afraid when you have nothing to say, or if you are in much pain, the Spirit of God will help you pray. – Romans 8:26
Prayer Develops a Relationship
Prayer grows and has stages because it is a conversation that turns into a relationship. It is a friendship that grows into the beautiful stage of intimacy due to vulnerability. This intimacy with God involves you telling Him everything, sins, desires, thanksgiving and requests, understanding that He does hear you.
Amongst all the things I have seen, there has never been anything more beautiful than to be one with the Lord, but unfortunately not many people reach this stage. This is a sad reality because every believer has access to this stage. This is the very reason why Jesus came down and tore the veil, so that we ALL can have access to the holy of holies. Through the Gospel and the Holy Spirit, we are able to be intimate with and develop a relationship with God (Matt. 27:51; Hebrews 10:19-22).
Prayer is not just made for religious leaders. All people, no matter the background, can reach that level of intimacy too and have Jesus close every second. Church is not the only place where we find Jesus. It may be the place where we go and share our love with and for Him amongst people who have the same thirst as us. Yet, on the other hand, today we find people who only open their Bible in church and only pray when they have visitors and it’s time to eat. When we do not utilize the means of communication that God so graciously granted us, even as the lowest of sinners, we are missing out on a love that was given to us freely and a way to develop and strengthen our relationship with God.
There is a deeper place that can be found by whomever will seek it.
So seek with all of your heart and you shall find.