Everything you need to know about prayer
Prayer is instant access to God. This is hard to fathom, because we do not have consistent, infallible, instant access to anyone else on the planet.
As helpful as our smartphones are, we still have to deal with glitches when Wi-Fi fails, cell phone signals drop out, or the phone stops working for no apparent reason. But while man-made gadgets can and do fail, prayer never fails.
No matter where we are or what we’re doing, we always have immediate and unfailing communication with God.
What Is Prayer?
Prayer is communication with God, either in thought or in spoken or written words. Just as our relationships with friends and family grow and deepen as we spend time together, time interacting with God deepens our relationship with Him.
Prayer gives us direct access to God’s listening ear, as well as His love, strength, wisdom, and comfort. It’s a way to express our love, confess our sins, and bring our requests to Him.
Prayer also is a time for hearing from God. As we pray, the Holy Spirit guides us in decisions, comforts our sorrows, and lavishes His love on us.
God already loves and accepts us unconditionally, so we never have to fear reaching out to Him in prayer.
If God Already Knows Everything, Why Do I Need To Pray?
Prayer is key to the depth and health of our relationship with God.
In Luke 11:1, Jesus’ followers said, “Lord, teach us to pray…” Jesus responded with a model for them (and us) to follow. That model shows not only the basics of praying but also the necessity of praying.
Jesus wants us to pray because He wants us to know God intimately. He commanded and modeled prayer repeatedly as He traveled and taught His followers how to know and communicate with God. Just like the people who followed Jesus while He was living on earth, we can learn from His reliance on prayer. Jesus’ followers saw how He needed time alone to talk with God, to rest, to receive direction from God, to find peace after conflict, and to be loved as only God can love us.
In Matthew 7:7, Jesus shared a simple way to remember the basics of prayer: ask, seek, and knock. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Yes, God already knows everything about us, including our needs. But prayer lets us participate in God’s blessings and provision for us. As we ask for God’s help, seek His guidance, and knock on the doors He provides, God’s responses draw us closer and involve us in His powerful work.
God created us and loves us with an infinite love, and prayer is His gift of an all-access, never-closed gateway to His heart.
What If I Do It Wrong or Don't Know What to Say?
When we are new to praying, we are like toddlers learning to walk. Learning to walk takes many tries, and kids walk stronger and more easily over time. The same is true for us as we learn to embrace the gift of prayer.
Jesus said no request is too small or too big to bring to God, so we can ask anything (Luke 17:6). Jesus also said we can trust God’s loving character as our generous provider and protector (Luke 11:13), which means we can be at ease and bring joyful anticipation with our requests to Him.
God wants to hear from and bless us, so much so that He even helps us as we pray: “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us…” (Romans 8:26).
Prayer is a magnificent gift from our loving Father and an instant way into His presence, love, and help. So don’t fear it. Instead, joyfully embrace it.