I know. I know. Prayer is important. But what exactly is the importance of prayer?
Prayer is communication with God. Plain and simple.
God has given us an opportunity to communicate with him any time we desire. ANY time. He is free and responsive no matter what time of day we call on him. Think about this. The creator of the whole universe, omnipotent God, has given each one of us a “blank check” saying we can pray at any time. We can pray short prayers, long prayers, prayers for ourselves, for others, anything. His promise is that he hears and answers every single one of them.
Prayer is important for your relationship with God.
How do you maintain your relationship with your best friend? You see them, talk on the phone, text, Skype, or some combination of these and other ways. It is very likely that you and your best friend have a running conversation. You know what each other are doing and thinking. You have inside jokes. You know each other’s hopes, dreams, and fears.
Yet in the same breath we will say we WANT to have a stronger relationship with God but we never speak to him.
Communication is essential to the maintenance and building of relationships. Prayer is how you do this with God. He should know what your thinking, what you’re worried about. What you want to do for fun. He should know your hopes, fears, and dreams (and not just because you’re asking him for help).
Prayer isn’t suggested, it’s expected.
Colossians 4:2 says:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
This isn’t questionable. We are told to devote ourselves to it. Not just do it, but be devoted to it. Prayer is exemplified throughout scripture and it is commanded on several occasions.
Jesus expected his disciples to pray. He chastised them when they didn’t.
Prayer is versatile. It is not just about your communication with God. It can have so many other applications and be used in various circumstances. One of the most notable is asking God for the healing of others.
We encounter pain, abuse, suffering, and death. It can happen directly to us, our loved ones, or people we don’t even know. Crime, war, discrimination, and hate leave scars on our bodies and minds.
And yet as bad as those things can be, we have a God who is faithful and powerful enough to heal the wounds, fill the voids, and deliver us from the suffering. Praying for other people and asking for their healing is a way we can act selfless and compassionate.
Jesus prayed, and he was holier than you.
Although I wrote this last point to be quick-witted (and end on a funnier tone), it’s very true. Jesus, the very offspring of God, prayed constantly.
In the first point about comparing the relationship with our friends to that with God I talked about how we often have running conversations with our closest friends. It is not necessary to “catch up” because we know what each other are doing.
Now think of this in the context of Jesus and God. In seeing that the world needed a Savior, Jesus came down and was made into flesh, and lived a human lifestyle. This was the plan from the beginning. It wasn’t a whimsical decision God made, it was planned all along. They were on the same page, so to speak. Regardless, Jesus prayed ALL THE TIME.
God knew what Jesus was thinking. Jesus had all the power in the world to perform miracles, heal people, raise the dead, and he did. But he still prayed these things to God, because prayer is that important. They had constant dialogue.
Jesus had all the authority to do anything he wanted, and he knew his purpose on Earth. Yet he devoted himself to prayer, taught others the importance of prayer, commanded others to prayer. Even with his last dying breath on the cross, Jesus prayed aloud, committing his spirit into the hands of God.
Step it up.
We can all learn from this. Prayer isn’t something that is exceedingly hard to do, but it can be hard to do well. It is very hard to do as much as we should. But the bottom line is it is important, expected, and Jesus set a superb example that we as Christians should be in communication with God.
How can we show the importance of prayer with our actions? Leave a comment below to discuss.