I’m not sure about you, but whenever God is trying to teach me something, He makes sure I can’t miss it. Whether it’s what I’m reading at the time, a song I hear on the radio, something a friend will share with me in conversation, or a sermon I hear at church, it’s as if God shouts at me through these different means to get my attention. He covers all of His bases. Does this ever happen to you? Prayer has been that thing for me lately. I’ve gotten into numerous conversations about it, I’ve blogged about it, I’ve taught Bible studies about it, and I’m even preparing right now to teach some 1st-3rd graders about it. I can’t get it off my mind, and not that I want to either, but prayer is something I’ve always done, right? So, why is God trying to teach me about the importance of prayer now? Don’t I already have this one down, Lord?
It seems a silly question to ask, as if prayer isn’t something that I can grow in. Of course it is! Prayer is vitally important in our walk with God, and it’s something that becomes better over time as we grow to know God more. The conversation between us and our God becomes simply beautiful over time as we choose to make Him a priority in our lives. What I want to share with you today are a few of the things that God has been impressing on my heart in relation to this thing called prayer. I hope that what I’ve been learning will encourage you in your prayer life.
First of all, prayer is a gift. Have you ever thought about it that way? I know I didn’t, until recently. I always viewed prayer as an obligation, something that I knew I should be doing more of but failed at all the time. Thoughts of prayer would accompany feelings of guilt at the same time because I knew I just wasn’t praying enough. Something that God has opened my eyes to lately is this completely new perspective on prayer. When I view it as a gift that God has given me, a way to communicate with Him, my heart changes in my approach to prayer. It causes me to want to pray, to desire times of prayer. When you receive a gift, how do you react? I get excited, super excited! I can’t wait to open it, and I usually squeal or scream my thanks to the gift-giver because receiving a gift makes me feel loved. Prayer is a gift to each one of us from God. It’s one of the many ways He expresses His love to us. It’s one way that He speaks to us, and it’s our way of communicating with Him. Before Jesus died on the cross for us, we didn’t have direct access to God through prayer. We had to go through a mediator, someone who would take our requests and confessions to God for us. That is no longer needed because Jesus opened up the lines of communication through His death on the cross. Prayer is gift, and it came at a high price.
Not only is prayer a gift but tragically, it’s a gift that is frequently neglected. It’s a gift that we rarely use, one that we leave unopened. It’s that box on the shelf that collects dust as we forget that it’s there. In our fears of not knowing how to pray and worrying that what we have to say will come out wrong, often times we just don’t pray at all. Or, we think we’ve prayed about something, but all we’ve really done is talk about it and worry about it…a lot. Prayer is simply talking to God and listening to Him speak to you. It’s a conversation. Like other relationships we have, our relationship with God takes time to grow, but how can we ever expect it to grow if we never spend time with Him? As God continues to teach me more about the importance of prayer, I’m becoming more and more passionate about sharing this gift of prayer with others. I’d love nothing more than to see a prayer revolution in our generation! Wherever you’re at in your faith journey, let’s start using this incredible gift of prayer today. One thing I know to be true is this: times spent in prayer with the Lord NEVER disappoint me!
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4