WHAT IS PRAYER?
Imagine someone gives you his telephone number and says call me. By that act, the person is saying here’s my number, keep in touch. In Jeremiah 33:3 God says “Call to Me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”. So Prayer is God’s way of saying here’s my number, here’s how you can reach me, keep in touch, call me. Prayer is the ‘phone line’ we use to call God and connect with Him. When we pray, we are engaging in a conversation with our Creator, Father, Saviour, Redeemer and Friend. Prayer helps us to stay in touch with God; through prayer we commune with God. Prayer is a major way we can spend time with God. Any time we pray, we are drawing close to God. The more time we spend with God in prayer, the closer we get to God. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” Prayer draws us nearer to God. You can’t have a close relationship with God, without a prayer life. Prayer is the structure, foundation and pillars we need to put in place to have an intimate relationship with God. Prayer leads to a deeper walk with God. There’s no way you can separate prayer from your relationship with God. There’s no way you can take stock of, evaluate and examine your relationship with God without reference to your prayer life.
We communicate with God through prayer. When you communicate, you are exchanging information. In the place of prayer there is an exchange of information. We pass information across to God about ourselves, family, church, nation, and situations around us. God also passes information back to us. It isn’t a monologue, one person alone doing all the talking, one person alone sending all the information. No, it’s a two way thing. God must be involved; God too must pass across messages and information to you.
We are told in Jeremiah 33:3 that God will show us great and mighty things which we do not know when we call out to Him in prayer. You will observe that in most offices or organisations where files are kept, they have some files labelled PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. In the place of prayer, God hands over some ‘private and confidential files’ to you. He shows you, reveals to you, tells you things about yourself, family, church, nation, or about things happening in the world around us that aren’t obvious, that are hidden to the natural eye. In the place of prayer, you discuss the obvious facts with God; those things you can see, those things you know. You tell Him clear and apparent needs you have, you discuss situations you or some other person connected to you is going through with Him. In the place of prayer, God also opens your eyes to the not so obvious facts; things that may be right under your nose, yet you can’t see them, things you can only discover in the place of communion with God. In Genesis 21:15-19, after Sarah sent her servant Hagar and her son away, while in the dry wilderness they ran out of water and her son was thirsty. God heard the cry of the young lad. When God heard his cry, God opened the eyes of the mother to see a well of water. The well of water was there all along, right under her nose, but Hagar couldn’t see it until God opened her eyes to see the water she needed. When our cries reach out to God, when God hears our prayers, He opens our eyes to things, opportunities and solutions that may be starring us in the face, but we can’t see.
Prayer is the spiritual ladder that connects heaven and earth (Genesis 28:11-13). Through prayer, we realize that heaven and earth aren’t actually isolated from one another. God isn’t just doing His own thing in heaven, while we are busy with our own thing on earth. Through prayer, a link is created; a connection is established between heaven and earth. God isn’t as far away from us as many people think. Prayer helps us discover how near God is to us and how involved He is with things happening here on earth (Deuteronomy 4:7). Issues, needs, situations and problems here on earth are taken up to heaven through the ladder of prayer. Answers to these issues, needs and problems on earth are brought down through the ladder of prayer. All this happens with the aid of the ministry of angels. Angels are real and they are very much involved in the affairs of earth when we pray (Acts 12:3-11). In Genesis 18:16-33, Abraham prayed to God to spare the land of Sodom and Gomorrah if God found 10 righteous people there. God sent two angles in response to Abraham’s passionate plea. The angels rescued Lot, Abraham’s nephew, with his family from the destruction that was to come on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-29). When Daniel prayed to God, God sent the answer to His prayer through an angel (Daniel 10:12-14).
Prayer is the avenue God has created for us to receive blessings from Him. In Matthew 7:7, we are told “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”. Every child loves receiving good gifts. In the place of prayer, we receive good gifts from our Father in heaven (Matthew 7:11).
Prayer is not an option, neither is it something we do when all else has failed. Prayer is an essential, vital, important and absolutely necessary part of our life and walk with God. Just like breathing is not an option, breathing is essential to our being alive, breathing is something we must do daily, regularly and consistently to stay healthy. So also, prayer is something we must do daily, regularly and consistently to stay spiritually alive, to have a healthy relationship with God.
More important than talking about prayer or reading about prayer is actually getting down to pray. May God pour upon you the spirit of prayer and supplication so you are always connecting, communing and conversing with Him in the place of prayer.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Henry on Unsplash