It is through prayer that we develop a living, intimate relationship with our Creator, God. He wants us to deliberately connect and communicate with Him so that we may reveal what’s in our heart. Now you may be wondering, if God is all knowing then isn’t He already aware of everything?
Of course, He is.
In spite of being a Son, even Jesus prayed incessantly and fervently which only goes to show how much more we need to pray as sinners. Ultimately, God wants us to know Him and this is a way to draw closer so that we may discern His will. Prayer is a form of serving and obeying God’s commands by which we obtain His solutions, healing, clarity, wisdom and all other good things.
How wonderful it is that we’ve been presented with the gift of prayer. God knows very well that we live in a broken world and need His armour. We should ask for His daily guidance in every area of our lives all the time.
In its simplest form, prayer is a casual conversation with God and it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. You don’t need to follow a strict formula or be super formal in your approach. At first, it might feel weird speaking to God if prayer is not already a part of your lifestyle. The ability to have a conversation with God is similar to when we speak to ourselves. The only difference is that we reach out with purpose-driven intent when we pray.Prayer should not be regarded as another chore to check off on the to-do list. There has to be a sense of enjoyment and comfort when speaking with God. Just as with any other relationship, prayer is not a one-way street which means we need to listen in order to receive what God has to say.
How great it is that we have the ability to plug into God’s power which far exceeds anything we can do on our own. It demonstrates our faith and trust in Him which means prayer is mighty and serious business. It should not be viewed as a means of getting God to do our will on Earth but as a way of participating in His good works. He is not a genie trapped in a magic lamp, waiting to fulfill your every whim.
I am learning that it’s wise to consult with God prior to making any minor or major decisions. A lot of past choices were made based on a very limited understanding of the events. I’d go to God when things went “wrong” (a.k.a. not according to my will) and needed His intervention. As you may know, this only brings a lot of stress and worry to our lives. Calling upon God’s infinite strength and wisdom positions us to overcome barriers and burdens. Being the good God that He is, it’s never too late to turn to Him. The grief we encounter could be greatly diminished but only if there is complete trust.
Prayer takes place in a variety of forms which means it can be solo, in a group, performed as a ritual, a spontaneous utterance or a hymn. Jesus prayed publically but many times he would retreat in a quiet place away from the masses so that he could be in solitude with the Father.
Prayer has the ability to gather workers for the spiritual harvest so that we may reap blessings such as resilience and healing. It also strengthens the bond between believers when everyone is pulling in the same direction because miracles do happen.
Prayer not only empowers us spiritually but it also offers many physical benefits. The relationship between prayer and health has been the subject of many studies. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind and body medicine discovered what he calls the “relaxation response”. The body’s metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure decrease during periods of prayer and meditation. This results in our breath becoming calmer and more regular. Today, it is estimated that over half of all doctor visits in the U.S. are prompted by illnesses like depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and migraines that are caused at least in part by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.
If you’re curious to try and/or willing to develop a prayer life, there is a Christian-based method which provides a simple framework. You don’t need to be a follower of Jesus to experience the benefits of prayer but it definitely enhances the experience.
If you’re not sure where to start then all you need to remember is ACTS. This acronym stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. You can spend as much or little time in each section of the prayer. For starters, even if you focus on just one of the four parts that should give you a glimpse into what it means and how it feels to pray.
Give God praise and honour for all that He has already done and for what He will do. The act of worshipping God is a reminder of who He is and how much He loves and cares for us. Just as any good parent, God wants to hear from His children.
Unless we fess up, we cannot change so it’s vital to seek God’s forgiveness on a regular basis. This ushers in a humble heart which honestly deals with the sin in our lives. When we ask for mercy and restoration it removes any blockages from our heart.
Verbalize what you’re grateful for in your life and in the world around you. Thank God for what He teaches us through our hardships. It’s very powerful to take a stance of gratitude to the One who gives all good gifts.
Our requests to God are left for the end and that’s intentional. This is the time to cast your cares and ask Him to move in a mighty way. You can pray for your needs and intercede on behalf of others. We all need continual healing from our humanly afflictions.