What is prayer? Prayer is simply communication between you and God.
It is a two-way relationship where we talk with God and listen to Him as He seeks to communicate with us. There is nothing complicated about it.
Whilst God wants us to bring our needs, desires, thoughts and feelings to Him prayer is not about coming to Him with our ‘shopping list’ of things we want Him to do.
As with any relationship, in order for it to grow it requires good communication, both talking and listening. So it is with our relationship with God.
But why should we pray?
What is the purpose of prayer?
What will I miss out on if I don’t pray?
Why should we pray?
Jesus set an example
There are many examples in the Bible of Jesus’ prayer life, how He prayed, and what He prayed for, here’s just a few.
He gave thanks (Matthew 15:36), He prayed for God’s will (Luke 22:42), He prayed for children (Matthew 19:13-15), He prayed for the church (John 17:20-23), He prayed for forgiveness for others (Luke 23:34).
He gave an example to His disciples of how to pray which included adoration to His Father, praying for God’s will, prayer of request, and of confession, and for deliverance (Luke 11:2-4).
As followers of Jesus we want to be guided by His example. Jesus prayed as an example to us and to demonstrate to us the need be in communication with God.
If Jesus did it then maybe we should take notice.
To grow our relationship with God
The act of communication helps us to be connected in our relationships, it strengthens relationships, builds positive emotions and builds trust.
This is also true in our relationship with God. Prayer can help us feel more connected with God, strengthened in our relationship with Him, helps us to trust Him and build positive emotions.
To overcome temptation
Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus knows what it is to be tempted.
We see this demonstrated in Matthew 4:1-11 when, just after Jesus’ baptism, He goes into the wilderness to pray and commune with His Father. During this time the devil comes and presents Jesus with three temptations which He refutes by quoting Scripture. Jesus drew strength from His prayer life to face the coming temptations.
Jesus encourages us to ‘watch and pray’ so that we don’t enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41).
To know God’s will
Before Jesus chose His disciples He spent the night in prayer. Why? To know the Father’s will.
As we spend time in prayer, laying our questions, thoughts and desires before Him, it allows us to draw closer to Him where we can begin to see things more clearly and from His viewpoint.
To equip us for spiritual warfare
Ephesians 6 tells us that in spiritual warfare we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and spiritual forces. The passage encourages us to ‘pray on’ our spiritual armour to protect us in our fight against the unseen enemy.
Does it matter where we pray? What about when we pray?
No it doesn’t…or does it?
In John 4, when Jesus was speaking with the woman at the well, He said that it didn’t matter so much where people worshipped, or prayed, so long as they worshipped in spirit and in truth.
God desires us to commune, speak with, pray to Him, always, anywhere, anytime.
Ephesians 6 encourages us to pray at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and requests.
Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10).
Jesus often withdrew overnight to pray, possibly because He could escape the crowds at that time. He also got up early in the morning and went to a deserted place to pray (Mark 1:35).
There is no ‘right’ time to pray, nor is the a ‘right’ place to pray.
But, as the example of Jesus own life shows (Luke 5:16), it is important to set aside some time where we withdraw from the busyness and noise of life and take some quiet time to pray, where we can allow His Spirit to lead us and where we can hear His still small voice.
Ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17) to help you to pray (Romans 8:26-27). He has promised to help you pray, to guide you and lead you in your prayers.
Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18