Prayer is the most essential part of the Christian life. It is talking with God that builds our relationship with Him. It brings intimacy and communion. It shows God’s power. Answered prayer builds our faith. Praying reveals our trust in God.
There is nothing more important than prayer.
Jesus’ entire ministry on earth was built around prayer. He often retreated from the busyness of ministry to spend an extended time in prayer, alone. If the Son of God so lived in this manner, how much more should we? Setting aside a specific time in our day is not the only occasion in which we are to pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to simply “Pray without ceasing”. For indeed, is there a time in our day when we don’t need prayer? As the old hymn says, “I need Thee every hour”. We have access through Christ to the throne of grace at all times; we need only to cry out.
Prayers are not always answered in the way we would choose. Paul recounts a time of his life in which this was the case. He had been given a thorn in the flesh – what exactly it is, he doesn’t say – and it is recorded that he “implored the Lord three times that it might leave [him]” (2 Cor. 12:7-8). However, God’s response is not to take this “thorn” away, but in the following verse we see a beautiful picture of our loving Father bestowing on us what we need. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfect in weakness.” God will not cause every trial to vanish, nor does He give everything our fleshly selves think we ought to have. Of His grace He gives generously, and we need nothing more to get through life’s deepest, darkest times.
One of my most influential prayer role models aptly combines reading God’s Word with intense prayer scattered throughout the time. When God convicts her of something, or lays someone on her heart as she is reading, she pauses and prays. Her time in the Word is soaked in prayer, and her time in prayer is saturated with the Word. What a beautiful blend of the two most important aspects of the Christian life, and what a change we would see in individual believers, and then the church as a whole, if each person started out their mornings in a similar way!
Take a few moments and evaluate your prayer life. What does it look like? Is it time spent at the throne of God, delighting to commune with Him in precious moments carved out, or does it look more like a cry of help uttered after your own resources are exhausted? Ask yourself honestly: to whom do you turn to when you are depressed, and to what do you run to when life feels overwhelming? Is Jesus Christ the anchor of your life, the Rock upon which you stand? Nothing else will satisfy, and no one else has the power to strengthen you.
It may not always work to spend a devoted hour in prayer each day, although we should always seek out undivided time for this spiritual discipline. The beauty of walking with God is that we can do it wherever we are – while doing chores around the house, running errands, doing schoolwork, or visiting with friends. There are many moments that can be spent in prayer rather than in idle thoughts. God is with us all the time, ready to listen.
Written by NBB Alumna: Ruth Derby