Why is it so important to pray?
Prayer is our direct communication to God. When we accept Jesus into our heart, we accept a relationship with Him. When you are in any kind of relationship, whether it be a friendship, marriage, etc., in order for it to be strong and healthy there has to be communication. Constant communication.
One way is through reading our Bible. But the other, more direct way is through prayer. God wants that healthy relationship with us, we only need to reach out and accept it. We also need to put in the effort, though. What good, strong relationship do you know of can last without the time and effort on both sides? God has, since the beginning of time, given us all the love and effort we could ever ask for – plus more. It is our responsibility to put in the time and effort on our side. And I’m not saying be perfect at it, because we as sinners are incapable of loving perfectly as God loves. We stumble, He does not. We forget, He does not. We sin, He does not. But we do need to be putting forth our best effort. God is so patient in waiting for us to come to Him, and even when we stray, He patiently calls us back into His faithful arms.
Why should you pray?
It is crucial to develop a strong prayer life because we cannot fully come to understand His will for our lives otherwise. You have to talk to Him – you have to pray. Since the beginning of our life God has had a plan for each and every day, even minute, of our lives. But there are choices we have to make. In order to best understand what choice to make, we have to know what God’s will is for us. Yes, life is a walk of faith. We won’t know everything. In fact, most of the time I find I don’t know what the next choice/step is until it is staring me in the face. But in order to react in a godly manner we must know what God wants us to do – through the prompting of the Holy Spirit and, you guessed it, through prayer.
We also should pray for people in our lives.
“Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” –James 5:16
Prayer for our own personal life is a wonderful thing to do on a daily basis, but we should also get into the habit of praying for others, as well. Children, parents, siblings, co-workers, pastors, friends, distant relatives, and neighbors are all people we should pray for. It might be something they have asked you to pray about, or something you know of that needs prayer, but there is always someone that you could pray for, and that could be a great blessing to them.
Many even pray for people they don’t know, like missionaries. I know of those who pray for people in government positions, which is an incredibly needed area of prayer in our country. Look around you. Open a newspaper or your social networking homepage. There are people everywhere who need prayer.
Doesn’t God already know what’s on my heart?
I have heard this asked and honestly it is a good question. Yes, God does know what is on your heart. But He still wants you to come to Him and tell Him yourself. It all goes back to a healthy relationship: it requires us to be open and honest with Him. He knows it all. Even before something happens, He knows about the situation. But if we went along in life and never bothered to talk to God about what is going on and ask Him for guidance, that wouldn’t be much of a relationship. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you’re not entering in to a religion with a list of rules to live by while you’re living (although there are things that Jesus teaches us that He wants us to follow) you are entering into a relationship full of the most passionate love from the Greatest that ever was and ever will be.
With all that being said about going to God with our prayers for help and guidance, that’s not the only time we should pray.
We need to praise and thank Him as well!
Praise Him all the time! In good times and bad! In the morning and evening!
Going to Him in need and humbly asking guidance is something He wants us to do. But God loves it when His children come to Him in prayer simply to thank Him for the sunshine, or warm cup of coffee, or for His unconditional faithfulness and love. Psalms is full of chapters simply about praising God for how wonderful and mighty and excellent He is. Thank Him for His blessings, and thank Him for being Him! Thank Him for creating such marvelous things like the majestic mountains and the calming ocean; for the fierce lion and graceful butterfly. Thank Him for your arms that you may hug, your heart that you may love, and your mouth so you may sing and smile. Thank Him for loving us more than any other of His miraculous creations, and because of that tremendous love coming to this earth as a human being and dying for us. Thank Him and praise Him from the top of your lungs for resurrecting on that third day and for His promise to one day come again and take us to be with Him!
Truthfully we have so much to praise Him for!
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” –Psalm 34:1