For the Christian, prayer should be a regular part of our lives as it is through an attitude of prayerfulness that we develop our relationship with God. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Think about it this way: in a marriage, you are in a committed relationship with someone, a relationship where one of the most important aspects is communication. In order for that marriage to work, to be alive, you need to communicate with your spouse. If communication is not there, the relationship breaks down and eventually dies. So it is in our relationship with God. We need to communicate with Him, and the way that we do that is through prayer. When we spend time in prayer, we are demonstrating our desire to be with God, as well as our trust in Him.
Prayer brings us into the presence of God. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we have access to God, and we tap into that access through prayer. God desires to be in a relationship with us, and He is always there waiting to hear the voices of His children. He delights in hearing our voices, just as any of us who have children of our own desire to hear their voices. And children love to be in the presence of their parents, to talk to them, and listen to them. Being in the presence of mom or dad can be a source of joy for a child. When we spend time in God’s presence through prayer, we are saying to God, “Father, I want to be with You.”
When we pray, we are in the presence of our heavenly Father. And when we find ourselves in His presence, our hearts, and our entire beings will want to shout for joy (Psalm 84:1-2). Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris in the 17th century, where his primary duties were cooking and washing dishes. This humble man of God knew the joy that comes from being in God’s presence at all times. In the book, The Practice of the Presence of God, we read that when the day’s appointed times of prayer were done, Brother Lawrence “continued with God, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continued joy.”
Prayer also demonstrates our trust in God. We are trusting that He will hear us. In Jeremiah 29:12, God tells us that when we call out to Him and come to Him in prayer, then He will hear our prayers. In John 11:41-42 (NET), Jesus demonstrated the confidence that we should have that God hears our prayers when, before raising Lazarus from the dead, He prayed, “Father, I thank you that you have listened to me. I knew that you always listen to me, but I said this for the sake of the crowd standing around here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When we place our needs before God through prayer, we are like the widow that Paul speaks of in 1 Timothy 5:5 (NET), the widow who is in need and on her own, but “has set her hope on God and continues in her pleas and prayers night and day.”
May we always remember to seek the presence of the Lord through time spent in prayer and to place our hope and our trust in Him. He hears our prayers and will answer in accordance with His will for us.