Are you happy with your prayer life? Because I’m not. In fact, I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they’re content with how frequently or deeply they talk to God on a daily basis. I know that I don’t pray as often as I could or should, and it definitely affects my life; if I prayed more than I do now, I would have a lot of problems and anxiety removed from my life that I unnecessarily carry on my shoulders. A lot of girls today are so busy with jobs, school, friends, family, homework, sports, volunteer work, and just trying to keep up with their hectic lives that by the time they lay their heads on their pillows to go to sleep every night, they realize they haven’t talked to God all day. Which is to our detriment, ladies, because He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 ESV), and if we take full advantage of the blessings and power of prayer, then our lives will be richer and we will be able to handle so much more than we can on our own.
What I hope to do with this series is, once a month, take a look at a person or two in the Bible who exemplified a certain aspect of prayer, or utilized prayer in a way that we should emulate. Prayer is such a big topic, and it permeates pretty much every book in the Bible, so this will be more like a survey of prayer throughout the Bible while we focus in on certain aspects of prayer, such as fasting, or steadfastness.
To begin with, I’d like to talk about the importance of prayer. Because, if we don’t actually believe it’s important or effective, then we will be much less likely to use it daily. We believe that brushing our teeth, eating meals, and getting sleep every day is important, so that’s why we do it every day. If we don’t pray frequently, then it’s probably because we deep down believe that it’s important. The little things in life have a funny way of taking our attention away from the bigger things, just because they’re louder than the big things are. However, prayer is extremely essential to our Christian walk. It’s how we build our relationship with God, and that knowledge, that intimacy with God is what leads us to eternal life.
For instance, to use a modern day example, have you ever Facebook-stalked someone before you actually met them? You find out their favorite tv shows, the name of their dog, where they spent Christmas in 2012, etc. Then, when you meet them in real life, you have to pretend that you don’t know any of that stuff because you don’t want to admit you’re a stalker? The reason we feel sheepish when we do this is because we didn’t gain that information honestly. We didn’t get to know that person in real life, we didn’t actually build a relationship to gain that knowledge; we just found that knowledge online where just anyone can see it. Using that same idea, God already knows what’s going on in your life. He is all seeing, all knowing, and He knows what you’re struggling with and what your dreams for your future are. However, He would much rather you tell Him yourself, and have you put in the time to cultivate that relationship with Him because that’s far more meaningful. Especially considering all He and His Son have done for us – God has made it abundantly clear that He wants to have a relationship with us.
Prayer will help us have the same intimate relationship with God that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden. God actually walked around the Garden (Genesis 3:8), and conversed with Adam and Eve, until they sinned and had to leave the Garden. This intimate conversation with God in the Garden is reverberated thousands of years later in Jesus’ last hours when He prays intensely in the garden the night before His crucifixion (Luke 22:39, John 18:1). That retreat from the world to spend time with God is similar to when we go get coffee with a good friend or the late night/early morning conversations that happen at sleepovers or lock-ins. Those deep conversations are what build relationships, and that’s what God wants to have with us. He just wants to get to know us.
The person who exemplifies an intimate relationship with God in the Bible is Moses – He literally got to speak face-to-face with God, and He got to actually see God. Now, when you’re talking face-to-face with someone, that’s obviously not praying, but that relationship between the Creator and the Created is what we should try to emulate. Moses didn’t start off this way, though; in Exodus 3:6, when Moses sees the burning bush, he hides his face from God. Later on, as he has earned God’s favor, Moses asks to see God with his eyes (Exodus 33:12 – 23). That evolution in their relationship is indicative of how much time they had spent talking together.
We too can have an intimate relationship with God, but we have to put the time and effort into growing that relationship, just as we would a human friendship. Especially because John 17:3 says “and this is eternal life, that they know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (ESV). That’s why prayer is so important – it leads to the relationship that leads to eternal life. And, please understand me, when I say that we need to have an intimate relationship with God, I’m not saying we should be casual or flippant in our prayers. However, Hebrews 10:19 – 22 says we should approach God’s throne in confidence.
God wants to have a relationship with us because He loves us. I hope that this series of articles encourages you to start cultivating and growing your relationship with God through prayer.