“Prayer is conscious, personal communication with the God of the universe. A better question than “How’s your prayer life?” might be, “Have you been enjoying conscious communication with God — over His word, in your daily needs, throughout your day?” Has your relationship with Hm been real — not a box to check, not just a hurried place for help, not a vague abstract idea hovering over your head and life? Has your faith been tying you to Him in your heart? Have you been leaning on Him, and not yourself?” – John Piper, Desiring God.
When you think about someone praying what goes through your mind? Perhaps you imagine someone kneeling beside their bed, listing his or her needs to God. Maybe you see someone sitting silently seeking to be in the presence of God. Or maybe you see a small group holding hands thanking God for answered prayer. So what is prayer and how do you develop a consistent and effective prayer life?
One beautiful thing that we all have in common is that we can all do better with our prayer life. All of us can improve, increase and intensify our personal prayer life, no matter how long we have been praying to the God of all creation.
Prayer is the way we communicate with God. It’s a spontaneous, one on one, and unorganized form of petitioning and thanking God for all that He has done in our lives. When we pray, we talk to God like we do our friends. We share all our worries, emotions, and feelings with Him and also thank Him for the life that He has given us. Prayer is the glue that holds together the relationship between God and His people.
Prayer makes a huge difference when we begin to realize that’s not about asking for what we want, it’s about asking for what God wants. It’s not about searching to figure out how I can get what I want. It’s about searching for the will of God – knowing many decisions will have no clear Biblical answer; such as “should I have this surgery” or “do I take this out-of-state job?” Prayer is about staying in constant communications with God, asking for His will in our lives. C. S. Lewis wrote, “I don’t pray to change God. I pray because I have to. I pray because I can’t help myself. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
Perhaps the best reason to pray is that Jesus prayed. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed to pray regularly, sometimes all night praying to His Father, then certainly we need to pray. Jesus said, “…Yet I want your will to be done, not mine…” (Luke 22:42) When we learn to pray the same way, then we begin to experience a faith that is real. When we pray like Jesus, it will change our routine prayer life into one that provides intimacy, fulfillment, and direction to our lives and ministries.
If you are not already doing so, find a private place where you can escape to spend some intimate time with your Father. Spend whatever time it takes to align your will with His. Then talk to Him about the needs that you have and your dependence on Him to provide those things for you.
- What practical suggestions have helped you most in your prayer life? Why?
- What can you do this week to work on your prayer life?