This Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. I think it’s great that we have a day where Christians across the country can unite in praying for our country, churches, communities, and such, but does this mean one day of prayer and we’re good for the rest of the year? I believe the answer is no. Prayer is part of building that relationship with Christ. It is how we talk to God and when we are still and listen He can speak to our hearts. The Bible talks a lot about prayer. Jesus even gave us a model for prayer what we call the Lord’s Prayer.(Mathew 6:9)
I’ve always felt pretty good about my relationship with Christ when it comes to prayer. I had no problem talking to God about every little thing and big. I’ve had many times where I would pour my heart out to Him about struggles of life, health issues, and even doubting if my prayers were being heard. I’m a strong believer in the concept that in everything in life there is always room for improvement, but to be honest I didn’t see how I could improve. I was stuck and had come to a place where I just began to accept that I understood the purpose of prayer and was doing well in prayer so that was it. I guess you could say that I earned my “prayer badge” in Christianity and thought I was good.
Then God began to work on my heart. I knew that being content in an area in your spiritual walk with Christ can easily start weakening your whole faith. Knowing this, I started praying for how I prayed. I asked God to help me know how to pray and what to pray for. As I began to do this I began to realize that much of my heartfelt prayers were for myself. This is not a completely bad thing, however when I did pray for others it was sincere but it wasn’t wasn’t with as much passion as I had for my own requests. From there I began to ask God to break my heart for what breaks His. I asked Him to help me love like He loves and to speak His truth in that same love. The more I prayed for these things the more He answered them.
God began to show me that the more I repeatedly prayed for things instead of it becoming a mundane list of things to pray for I would almost always have some slightly different aspect to pray for. In praying for God to guide my prayers I began to think of things to pray for that I normally wouldn’t have. I began to increase my prayer through out the day. I also began to pray longer during my dedicated prayer times. Not only that, but I became even more broken and burden for the people and things I was praying for.
WHat is even crazier is the more I pray the more I have a hunger to read the Bible, an area I’ll admit I have had struggles with. Because I have been reading His Word more my relationship with Jesus has grown and I have more of a boldness and courage to share His truth those who are lost in my life.
I think prayer is something that can easily be overlooked in our Christian lives. It’s easy to have our minds going in so many different directions that we are lucky if we remember to pray at meals or a meal. Then when a trial hits, boom, it’s prayer city for us. That’s like not really talking to a friend until something upsetting happens…which is silly!
Plus the Bible talks about persistent prayer. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Notice the word “devote.” It could have just said, pray with an alert mind… No, it said devote. This clearly doesn’t mean pray one time for something and check it off our list and we’re good to go. Nope, it means that we are to continue to pray even if it’d the same thing time and time again. Now take a look at the part that says, “…prayer with an alert mind…” This also means that just because we are devoting ourselves to prayer doesn’t mean we can just zone out and go on “auto pilot” when we pray even if it is for the same things pretty much every time. We are told to be alert. This is were praying for how to pray of what to pray for comes into play. Lastly, look at the end of the verse and what it says. It says “…thankful heart.” The obvious understanding of this is that we are to give thanks to God for everything in our life. I agree that this is super important and is correct. It can also be looked at as the importance of expressing the faith that God will answer prayers by thanking Him for answering them even before He actually answers. I believe it’s important to not just pray for things all the while thinking, “oh I hope God answers my prayer,” or simply out of duty. We should pray for God’s will to be done, yet have confidence that it will be done and that He will answer. Because we know that as a fact, He does always answer!
As we prepare our hearts for prayer this Thursday and every day, I hope that this can give you things to think about if nothing else. If you have questions or comments please feel free to post in the comments!