For many of us, prayer is something we think we need to tick off our “to do” list. Prayer is something we know we should be doing but we aren’t really sure why. So it is good to be reminded of the importance of why we pray.
The first reason it is important to pray is to build relationship with our heavenly Father. All relationships require time spent with each other, and our relationship with God is no different. He wants intimate relationship with us. The time we spend in prayer with God, alone or with others, can deepen our understanding of Him and it’s during this time of prayer that God can reveal His will for our lives and the lives of others. So as well as talking with God when we pray it’s also important for our relationship that we also spend time listening to Him.
As well as deepening our relationship with God, prayer plays an important part in our relationships with those around us. Praying with others can sometimes seem uncomfortable, or we can fear people will say no when we ask if they would like us to pray with them. But when we or someone else is experiencing a tough time praying with others can be a huge encouragement – it can lift a weight from us and shows that someone cares enough to walk the tough times with you. Sometimes we might want to pray but we just don’t know what to pray, so praying with someone else can help us to voice things we cannot express.
Secondly, as we spend time with God in prayer our hearts align with His Heart and we see our character start to reflect the character of Jesus. If our character reflects that of Jesus, then the things we desire match the desires of the father.
The bible is quite clear on prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray without ceasing” and this can feel like a pretty impossible task. But our best example of one who prayer is Jesus, and Jesus prayed all the time. He prayed before making important decisions such as choosing his 12 disciples, he prayed before and after miracles such as healings, he prayed with people, laying hands on the children, he prayed before meals, he prayed with groups, he prayed alone. Jesus gives us many examples of when we should pray, and he gave the Lord’s prayer as an example of how we should pray (see Matthew 6:9-13; and Luke 11:2-4).
Often prayer can feel a little bit of a shopping list, I need, please God can you.. and so on. But prayer is a perfect way to just come to the Father and praise Him for, he is good! Even when life gets a bit chaotic, or heavy, it is important to see the small ways God blesses us each day and praise Him for all he has done. And this can be done through prayer.