Prayer; an essential of Christianity and following Jesus.
I have opened up to my readers extensively about some of my daily struggles in my walk, and an active prayer life can sometimes be one of those struggles. I go through spurts. I’ll have a solid week of consistent prayer – in the morning when I wake up, throughout the day, and prayer at night before I fall asleep. Then, I’ll have a solid week of seriously lacking prayer time. Bet you can’t guess during which type of week I truly feel my relationship with Jesus….
Funny thing about people – we tend to continue doing something we shouldn’t do, or not do something we should do even though we know it’s hurting us in some way – and this is especially true when we are outside of a relationship with Christ. Even though I know an active and consistent prayer life will grow my relationship with Jesus, I sometimes struggle to make time to actually work on that prayer life. I think a misconception with prayer is that it always has to be this very serious, sit down for an hour, beautifully versed prayer. If you need to, go sit in your closet and shut the door and just pray – I have done this many times and it’s actually wonderful. God in no way expects perfection in prayer, He calls us to come with our brokenness. He designed prayer as a way for us to simply talk to Him, and my what a blessing that is! The Creator of the universe, the God who knew us before we were born, provided us a way to talk to Him. I don’t know about you, but that gives me chills.
We are instructed time and time again in the Word to pray. We are called to pray for many reasons and in every situation.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Read that verse again. Read the segments on their own. First, we are told to not be anxious about anything – trust God’s will, timing, and sovereignty. Second, we are told to pray in every situation – the good, bad, and in-between. Third, we are told to do this with thanksgiving – praising our Savior and thanking Him for the grace and love He has shown, and His sovereignty over all. Why can it be so difficult when we are given clear-cut instructions?
Prayer is not “asking for things” and expecting to receive them while we continue living in sin and outside of Christ, and it is not a bargaining chip. Prayer is bringing our struggles to Jesus, praising our Savior and confessing our brokenness, acknowledging God’s sovereignty and trusting His ways, and building a relationship. Prayer is asking God to work in your life according to His will and thanking Him in every season of your life along the way.
My favorite Christian rap artist, NF, wrote a song with some pretty powerful thoughts on prayer in the world. Yes, I realize the grammar is awful, but the message is a wake-up call. He are some snippets:
Listen, yeah everybody wants change
Don’t nobody wanna change though
Don’t nobody wanna pray
Till they got something to pray for….
You see the same God that you’re saying might not even exist
Becomes real to us, but only when we’re dying in bed
When you’re healthy it’s like, we don’t really care for Him then
Leave me alone God, I’ll call you when I need You again…
It’s hard to answer prayers when nobody’s praying to you…
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for a consistent prayer life is that its necessity is not realized, and another is doubt. Sometimes we hold back with prayer because we don’t truly believe we are being heard, and most of us aren’t really sure how to listen for God. If we viewed prayer as a necessity and fully trusted in God to hear those prayers, we would pray continually – how absolutely powerful could that become? The Bible makes that pretty clear in James 5:16 – “…the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
My favorite truth about prayer is that God wants to hear how we are feeling, even though he already knows! He wants to talk with us daily, and He wants us to tell Him everything on our hearts and minds. Prayer is also a form of worship and obedience – it’s a way for us to declare God’s sovereignty and power, and to thank Him in all circumstances and seasons of our lives.
When I think of an example of prayer life (aside from Jesus’ prayer life in the Bible, of course) I think of my mother. I don’t even remember a time in my life when she wasn’t praying. She prayed instinctually in every single situation. I even remember watching her stop and pray every time she heard an ambulance or fire truck siren outside when I was growing up. She prayed every single day of my entire life that God would provide a husband for me who loved Jesus. She prayed every single day that I would walk with Jesus and come to have a lasting relationship with him even through my brokenness. I’ve seen the impact of these prayers, and her prayer life has helped to guide mine.
My prayer life has grown and strengthened within the last couple months, and I’ve found myself wanting that prayer time more and more. I’m someone who thrives in writing my thoughts, and I love to write my prayers. Often times it helps me stay focused on my prayer, especially when I’m feeling defeated or distracted. I also searched and found pretty cool prayer journal to help me with different pieces of prayer, particularly in praying for people and situations outside of me personally. I found it on Amazon, and I’m excited to start using it! The journal gives 4 sections for each day – “today’s verse”, “Lord, teach me to…”, “I am thankful for…”, and “prayer requests”. If you are someone who struggles with what to say when you pray, or how to say it, something like this can definitely help get you started! I also highly recommend a book called Before Amen by Max Lucado. This book dives into a biblical prayer that reminds us that prayer is a heartfelt conversation between God the Father and His children, and there is also a prayer journal and study guide available as well!
My prayer with this post is that hearts will be touched and moved to strengthen prayer life, and that we realize the importance and blessing of talking to the Lord daily through the good and bad. Remember this – we have Christian brothers and sisters in places where they are imprisoned and tortured for praying, and yet they STILL pray continually. What’s our excuse?
You sister in Christ – kayley jean, a wife redeemed
[If you have any prayer requests that you would like to share with me I would love to pray for you! Feel free to comment or message me through my blog’s Facebook page.]