The What, Why and How of Prayer
God’s chosen method for working out His plan and purpose in your life and in your world is prayer. Yet many of us struggle with prayer. Often, frustrations come from inaccurate expectations. Prayer is not a magic wand that instantaneously fixes your situation. a fire extinguisher only brought out in a crisis, an empty ritual to earn heavenly points, nor is it a tug of war in which you have to convince God to answer you. Matthew 6: 5 - 8 points to four truths that are foundational to praying with confidence.
God loves it when we talk to Him about anything.
I love seeing the light in my son’s 6 year old eyes when he grabs my attention and expounds in great detail on what’s happening in his favorite tv show, his latest Lego architecture or a new art project. I also love it when he calls me daddy, and makes a request, whether for a special snack, a movie night, or to play with him outside. Psalms 103:13 says, "The Lord is like a father to his children, tender & compassionate to those who reverence Him". Philippians 4:6 says “In everything with all prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Ephesians. 6:18 exhorts us to “pray at all time with all kinds of prayer & supplication”. God loves you, and He has designed and shaped you for the life He has called you to. Talking to God about anything and everything expands your connection with God beyond compartmentalized religion and invites Jesus to be present in every aspect of your life.
God listens to prayers that are simple and sincere.
In Matthew 6:7, Jesus contrasts genuine prayer with mindless babbling. Prayer is not an empty ritual, and its power is not in its mechanics. You don’t have to say things a certain way. There’s no need for flowery religious language. Don’t worry about what you think you ought to say or how it sounds. Just share what’s on your heart with God.
God likes to show His grace by answering prayer.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:6 that “when you pray to your Father in secret, He sees and will reward in secret”. James 4:8 reminds that “if we draw near to God, He draws near to us”. In contrast to the Pharisees who pray for public recognition, those who genuinely seek out their Father, will receive His attention, and His answers to prayer. This doesn’t mean the answer is always yes, but rather that God actively listens to you, knows what is best, is working towards your good for His glory, and will answer when you genuinely call out to Him.
God longs to be close to you
Jesus says our Father already knows what we need before we ask for it. So what’s the point then? When we ask for something and God provides, trust and connection are built. Prayer expresses our need for Him, our devotion to Him and our cooperation or partnership with Him. In Hosea 6:6 God says, “I doesn’t want your empty religious practices. I want your love and for you to know Me” (my paraphrase). In John 15:15 Jesus calls those who follow Him, Friends. Wow! Friendship with God.
Prayer is not a duty but a delight when we understand these foundational truths about prayer. May they sink down into your heart, moving you towards deepening friendship and partnership with God in prayer.