When we pray, we are talking with God. Prayer is a God-given priority in growing in our walk with Him. If we are not talking with God every day, we do not have a relationship with Him. Talking with God does not mean asking for things, although He does want to hear our petitions. God wants to be our best friend and He wants to know our hearts desires, but He also wants to help us and guide us to an abundant life with Him now. What a great honor and privilege that too many take for granted or overlook completely. They then wonder why they face horrible consequences for trying to live this human life on their own. How are we to determine His will in our lives if we are not spending time with Him? How are we to live a life that is glorifying to Him if we are not spending time with Him?
While many believers sincerely desire to spend time with God in prayer, a few actually do. Spiritual discipline is necessary for us to be able to make prayer a priority in our lives. God, however, has made prayer a priority–directing His children to pray first, often, and always. Therefore, prayer should become a priority for us!
Scripture speaks repeatedly of the importance of prayer. Paul says to pray about everything – Philippians 4: 6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Believers should make all requests known to God. In addition, believers are warned to pray regularly and frequently. David promised the Lord, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:17) Jesus prayed for extended periods of time, especially when making important decisions – Luke 6:12 “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” When was the last time we prayed and communed with our loving God all night? Certainly when facing challenges or trials, we should pray – James 5:13 “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” Please do not let sin and pride keep you from talking with, and sharing with, and listening to God.
Paul inspired the Christians in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Prayer becomes not only an attitude of the heart, but it is also a continual dialogue with the Lord. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in communing with Him, the more prayer becomes a habit, and one of the best habits we can ever have.
When we pray, we must take time to be still and hear a word from God – Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: …” (I have taken much comfort from that verse.) The Bible does not dictate any specific time or place for prayer. But, believers may find it easier to maintain the priority of prayer when we establish a definite time and place to pray as part of our daily schedule – Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”
Our prayer time should consume a place in our hearts, in our very souls; it also needs a place in our homes. I believe that as Christ-like children of God, we all need our own private prayer closet – Matthew 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” We all must have a place of solitude that is free from all worldly distractions so that we may pray in private.
To help make prayer a priority in our lives, we may want to use a prayer journal or devotional book or write out a prayer list and revise it often. I cannot begin to list all the many times that God has spoken to me or answered some prayer request in my daily devotionals. It also helps for us to share our commitment to prayer with others, both to encourage them and to hold ourselves accountable for praying regularly.
The example of Daniel 2:23 “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” Daniel modeled a personal devotional life with God. He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” with the riches and delicacies offered to him by the king. (Daniel 1:8-17) He openly refrained from these luxuries that were offered to him, living out the strength of his convictions. As a result, God gave Daniel and his friends–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego–“knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom” (Daniel 1:17). He also gave Daniel understanding in visions and dreams. One of Daniel’s lifestyle choices was a decision to pray and give thanks to God first and foremost, before anything else–which he had done three times a day since he did “aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel kept this personal devotional commitment, even in the face of a royal decree that sought to prohibit the worship of Yahweh (Daniel 6:3-5). He was also quick to ask for God’s wisdom, to seek the counsel of Godly advisers, and to praise God for the revelations of his wisdom. Daniel’s life exhibited a commitment to hearing and knowing God’s Word, then living it out in practical ways. Jesus taught this same pattern: hearing and doing in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”
When we are devoted to knowing and doing the work of God–refraining from being pulled into the sinfulness of the world–we are enabled to inherit the grace, love, and wisdom that God offers those who give themselves totally to Him. (Romans 10)
We who are truly saved by the blood of Jesus, are to spend eternity in God’s presence, communing with Him constantly. Why not get into that habit now? What blessings He bestows on us if we only would.