Prayer is a fascinating practice of Christians that allows us to have a ongoing relationship with God. We can come to God praising Him as the high king of heaven, ruler over all the earth. We can freely admit sin and wrongdoing knowing that God longs to forgive and restore, building us up stronger than before. We can make requests of God, asking for Hm to heal our family, reveal Himself to our friends, give us courage to do what is right. We can sit at the feet of Jesus and simply rest in His mercy and peace. Prayer is the best tool to work on us, those we have influence with, and the most proper way to praise God. It enriches our lives, strengthens our faith, and draws us towards the Lord.
But then the question must be asked, “If prayer is so great, why do we spend so little time in prayer?” The reality is that many Christians struggle to pray with regularity or for any length of time. According to Pew Research, only 41% of young adults/emerging adults pray daily. Yet 63% recognized prayer as a crucial component to the identity of the Christian. So, 4 out of 10 pray each day and 6 of those 10 believe prayer is key. Why are 22% of people who believe prayer is key to Christianity not spending regular time in prayer?
According to Barna Research, 82% of people most often pray by themselves. When asked “What do you pray for?” the top answers all related to personal needs such as guidance, health, family members, safety, and blessing meals. The good news is that people are praying, the bad news is that we are consumed with ourselves. Then we must ask, “Do we know how to pray?”
Is it possible, that the vast majority of people praying are so enamored with self that they use prayer merely to voice frustration and feel good about asking God to take care of the hard situations in their life?
Prayer is a blessing that affects the core of our being in profound ways. Do we know how to rest before the throne in prayer? Do we know how to meditate on scripture in such a way that we naturally pray it back to God? Do we pray for all the people of our church/community/country? Do we pray for God’s spirit to be active in drawing the people of the world towards Himself in such a way that He will be praised and worshiped? Do we pray for His kingdom to grow and His name to be lifted high? Do we spend adequate time reflecting and confessing the many ways in which we have sinned against the high king of heaven?
These are all questions we should take into consideration. Perhaps after considering them there is a sense of being overwhelmed. Do not get frustrated as though you have been doing it wrong all along or that you will never measure up to answer these questions well. Instead, aim to grow. Aim to spend more time in prayer and flex your spiritual muscles in way that is new to them. In 1 Chronicles 16, the Israelites put the Ark of the Covenant in the tent. David in his gratitude offers up a beautiful song of gratitude to the Lord. But in verse 11 he captures a significant truth that every believer everywhere should aim to embrace.
“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.”
Christians are people who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. They have asked Him to forgive their sin, believing that He has conquered the power of sin by the death and resurrection. We ask Him to be Lord of our life, the master who sits on the throne of our hearts that guides and leads us. And it is a life long journey of seeking God. Learning more about who He is, the significance of what He has done. He is the same God the created everything that exists and the same God who invites us into conversation with Him. Learning to spend time with God in prayer is transformative in how we know ourselves and other people around us. Learning to spend time in prayer is something we should aim to do each and every day.
I pray that God would give you great conviction to pray. To grow each day in your prayer walk with the Lord. It is far more significant than we know. Perhaps you are not sure where to start. Psalms is known as book of prayer. It is a great book to read a chapter from each day. To really look at what is being said and to praise God, thank God, and teaches us how to wrestle with God. If you want to grow in your prayer life, start working through the book of Psalms and finding ways to pray what is said in each chapter back to God. You will find Psalms about thanksgiving, praise, comfort, peace, God’s kingdom, His wisdom, what it looks like to long for God, how to confess sin, what to do with anger, how to handle grief and suffering, hot to fight against temptation and so much more. This is a valuable book that can teach you how to pray in deeper more meaningful ways than perhaps you ever thought you could pray.
My prayer for you and for me, is that we would grow in our prayer lives. That we would aim to seek God’s presence continually and there before the throne, He would transform everything about us to be more like Him.
1. Read Psalm 1
a. It is the only chapter that is not a prayer but rather a meditation. One that teaches us on the value of prayer. It reveals that we can find stability, fruitfulness, consistency, and blessedness from a life of prayer. Take time to reflect on the value of prayer and commit yourself to working through one chapter a day. Reflect on it, ask questions about it:
i. What does this teach me about God?
ii. What does this teach me about the world?
iii. What does it teach me about sin?
iv. How should I respond?