What does it mean to pray?

Like, really pray?

If I’m honest, I often go through periods where my prayer life looks more like a bunch of 911 calls.

You know, the type of prayer that happens out of urgency and desperation.  They “Oh God please help me with ______” prayers.  

Can you relate to that?

I don’t think that’s what God intended when he instructed us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Not that we can’t bring our needs forward.  We read in Philippians 4:6 that we do not need to worry about anything.  Instead, we should present our requests to God.

I think the problem sometimes is that our prayer life resorts to only presenting our needs.  And often, as a last resort not the first line of defense.

So how can we make the most out of this gift of communion with God?

I think for one is seeing it as just that - a gift.  A beautiful opportunity to enter the throne room.  As an invited guest.

An opportunity to pour out our worship and praise.  To exalt the King of kings.  

An opportunity to surrender our plans, our will, our dreams - for HIS plan.  HIS will.

An opportunity to repent of our sins and break free of sin bondages.

An opportunity to intercede for others the way Jesus intercedes for us.

And yes, an opportunity to present our needs to our loving Father.

But even more than that, I think many of us need to start acknowledging - and then experiencing -  prayer for what it really is. A necessity.

Too often I have felt that I wasn’t hearing from God.  Or overwhelmed by temptation.  Or distraught at the state of the world.  The reality was that I wasn’t meeting God in prayer to hear from Him, be strengthened by Him and intercede to Him.

Prayer is a necessity in growing in the faith.

Prayer is a necessity to ward off the evil one.

Prayer is a necessity to build a hedge around our minds and hearts.

Prayer is a necessity to walk in the will of God.

We need God too much - both individually and collectively - to NOT pray.

If I could encourage you, carve out time for intentional prayer.  Prayer where you glorify God, seek repentance and guidance, intercede for the needs of others and just be in the presence of God.

It doesn’t need to be complicated.  Prayer doesn’t require a Bible degree.  Just an earnest heart in the posture of surrender talking openly to their Father.

It’s a heart to heart conversation with your Maker who loves you.  It’s approaching the throne of GRACE - where you will be met with grace even in your efforts to pray.

God is waiting to meet with you - one on one.  To comfort your heart and encourage your spirit.  Won’t you meet with him today in prayer.

Check out my Bible Study guide on The Lord’s Prayer for more encouragement and reflection into prayer.