Ask any Christian what it means to walk with God and more than likely one of the things they will say is to pray. As we genuinely pray we come to the realization of what little we can actually accomplish on our own. The lack of a prayer life signifies complete self reliance. When we rely on ourselves all our we know outside of our position in Christ is the flesh. This then leads to lack of fulfillment leading our flesh to do what it needs to find momentary fulfillment. More and more we begin to see that so many areas of our life is about being dependent upon Him, even if we had not realized it before.
Prayer is how we communicate with God. With any relationship communication is a key factor in growth. Because of Christ’s death on the cross we now have the ability to directly speak to God. I mean how cool is that? A solid life of prayer requires so much more than merely bowing our heads and closing our eyes. One of the most freeing truths in the world for me was when I learned I could pray with my eyes open. As Christians we have this habit of simplifying and dumbing awesome concepts down to malnourishing rituals. Not only can our pray lives indicate where our dependency remains but also where are faith in our position and relationship really stands.
Praying not only impacts ourselves but it can others as well. If you know me you know that the phrase “I’ll be praying for you” drives me nuts. I am absolutely certain that if you are a believer you have said this or have heard this said, lets face it, a lot. This phrase has become the “good morning” or the “happy birthday” of the Christian culture. How often do we deliver these words as an empty gesture, most of the time not even realizing they are? The trouble with cliche’s is regardless of whether they are true or not, they remain hindered by the fact that they are overused and empty. I think with this in particular telling someone we are praying for them, allows us to feel as if we are making someone else feel good by our actions. At the same time I think we throw these words out there to also make ourselves feel good, and in a sense justified, by not actually offering some form of assistance to said person, but exonerating ourselves from any trouble by few little words. My challenge in saying that came when I realized I had turned it into any empty gesture. I started writing it down in a journal every time I told someone I would pray for them and did just that. Not only that I began the practice of not telling them I am praying for them, but actually praying for them anyway. Obviously I am not challenging you to do any of these things but to instead think of what we say, why we say it, when we say it, and how we say it. What is the heart and motive for our speech?
By refraining from prayer we are taking a key component in our relationship with God and showing great disinterest in it. If we want to grow we have to communicate with Him. For example when you are in a relationship with a person whether a person of the opposite sex or just a friend in general you take it upon yourself to spend time with them. Not only that you genuinely talk to them and share who you are and what you are experiencing, even at times with great zeal. So if we can do those things with people at the same time should we not be able to do the same with God. As we express our needs and ourselves to Him organically it is a manifestation of our faith and belief.
If we were not intended to pray there would not be such a strong emphasis on it within Scripture. Prayer is not bound to just expressing needs to God but is our expression of whatever we want to God. It literally can be anything from venting about things occurring in life, to just having a chat about whatever comes to mind. For me sometimes praying means writing to God in a notebook or even speaking to Him as if I am having a conversation. Others may sing or perform some other action that allows them to communicate themselves better to the Lord. Prayer can be anything in any way that we find to engage ourselves in heart to hearts with out Creator.
We can not do this on our own. I know because I have tried. As I stated earlier our prayer lives are issues of our dependency and faith in God. Are we taking full advantage of our position in Christ or are we treating is as a side note in the story of how we view ourselves? Until we can fully accept our need to communicate with and depend on Him we will continue to go in circles wondering why we are going nowhere. Whether praying to you is participating in the ritualistic motions or completely nonexistent, in the end it is not worth it to not give Him control. Know Him, love Him, fellowship with Him, and do not exclude prayer from your relationship with Him. Prayer is an act of obedience, love, faith, and dependency, so time to quit holding back…
I am ending this with a few verses on what I have just written. Here are some verses on prayer. Read the verses but most importantly the context surrounding them. These are just a few and there are so many more.
Romans 12: 9- 13
Philippians 4: 4-7
1st Thessalonians 5: 15-22
1st Peter 3:12
James Chapter 5