I’m going to be totally honest. Prayer is the easiest and the hardest discipline for me. It is easy in that it does not require I have any special talents, sophisticated vocabulary, or a specific place I need to go. And yet it is difficult because I am easily distracted, lacking in faithfulness, and ignorant to the dangers of a prayerless life.
Anyone else have these struggles?
Prayer is a privilege that we take for granted, and a discipline many find boring. It is a gift that we don’t value or always believe in. And yet, in our most desperate times what do we do? We pray, almost as if it is instinctive.
From Adam and Eve to the Apostle John, prayer is found throughout the entire counsel of God. Most of us know prayer is speaking to God, but it’s so much more than that. It is communion with God – the experience of fellowship that allows us to draw near to Him and find help when we need it.
The Privilege of Prayer
To be able to draw near to God, anytime and anywhere, is a humbling privilege. As sinners, we do not deserve to have any access to Him. Who is God? Infinite in holiness, perfection, righteousness and purity. Who are we? Created creatures, full of pride, dead in our trespasses and sin. We are not worthy to enter into His presence, let alone speak directly to the Almighty One.
But there is One who is able to set all things right. Jesus, whose name means, “The Lord Saves”, came to reconcile us to God through His death and resurrection. He took upon Himself our punishment; He paid our ransom so that, through faith, we could be made right with God.
We are now saved by grace, adopted children of the Father, and coheirs with Christ. This means that we now belong in the presence of God. Our vileness has been covered with the righteous robe of Jesus. Therefore, we have complete access to the throne room of the Almighty before whom even the angels cover their eyes (Is. 6:2; Rev. 4:8). Along with entering into the presence of God through prayer, we also have His full and loving attention. We have access to the ear of God, and this is critically important to the life of faith.
The Importance of Prayer
The reason so many of us are slow to pray is because we do not believe prayer is important. We think we can make it through our day without the help and guidance of God. We act as though we are resolute enough to resist temptation, strong enough to fight the attacks of Satan, savvy enough to navigate the ways of the world, and spiritual enough to figure out the word of God on our own. We believe that we are self-sufficient.
When looking at the life of Jesus, one thing we can’t help but see are the number of times He withdraws from the people to spend time with His Father in prayer (Mk. 1:35; Mtt. 14:23; Lk. 6:12; Lk. 22.32). The Son of God who calmed storms, banished devils, and overcame sickness, knew the importance of prayer and made it a part of His daily life.
Prayer is the most important subject in practical religion. All other subjects are second to it. Reading the Bible, keeping the Sabbath, hearing sermons, attending public worship, going to the Lord’s Table—all these are very weighty matters. But none of them is as important as private prayer.
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
Prayer is important because …
It refocuses our eyes on Jesus.
It gives us strength.
It draws us close to God.
It brings comfort.
It produces peace.
It ignites love for God.
It is a place of refuge during times of sorrow and pain.
It is a place of healing for the battered and hurt.
It is a time to seek clarity and wisdom.
It is a time of praise and worship.
Prayer is important, but it isn’t God who needs it. God does not need our prayers, but He has chosen to work through them, to heal, restore, motivate, sooth, and save.
Ah! How often, Christians, hath God kissed you at the beginning of prayer, and spoken peace to you in the midst of prayer, and filled you with joy and assurance upon the close of prayer!
Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
Join us in our study as we seek to answer questions like, “How should we pray?”, “What should we pray for?” and “Does God hear our prayers?”.
My prayer is that the knowledge received through our study will be transformed into the fuel we need to become women marked by prayer – that it would, as Robert L. Dabney said, be our “vital breath”.
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