Imagine what life would be like for your lungs, heart, brain—your entire body—without oxygen. We need to breathe to live. Carry this over to the spiritual realm. Prayer is breathing for the soul. We need God. He is life and the Giver of life. And why wouldn’t I want to communicate as much as possible with the Giver of every good thing?
27. Livin’ on Prayer.
Like most humans, I go to God when I need something from Him. My Dad had some serious health issues during my early middle school years. This was probably the first major time I was driven to my knees in prayer. My family was presented with potentially life-altering circumstances that would impact our family dynamic for the remainder of my Dad’s life. Have you ever experienced a trial like this?
Long story short: God was faithful. He answered our prayers the way we hoped for and expected. Praise God! Had He answered in a different way, without the desired healing, He would still have been good, faithful, and loving. I can say that now because of several other trials in my family, circle of friends, and local church.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)
One of the best growth periods for my prayer life was during late high school through college. I regularly met with my twin and one of our closest friends to pray through our church’s published prayer list. This was so rewarding. My faith in Jesus grew because of the fellowship, answered (and even unanswered/differently answered) prayers, and open communication among brothers.
Another resource that has shaped my prayer life is Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. Highly recommend this book! Basically, it’s a guide for how to pray through Scripture. The Psalms are a treasure trove of prayers to implement daily.
Why would I not freely communicate with the sovereign Lord of the universe when the line is open 24/7? He’s always listening. He has never failed. Not once. And He never sleeps.
Prayer is powerful. Not because of the words spoken or the method used necessarily, but because of the One hearing our prayers. God’s will is perfect and His ways are always good (Romans 8:28).
God knows everything. So why pray? It comes down to a matter of faith. God is pleased when I pray to him. It honors Him to see that I trust Him even when I don’t know what is going to happen. He already knows the future and He’s not surprised by anything. Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing to be a part of His greater plan? Perhaps He will use me to accomplish His will in the lives of those I’m praying for.
Proverbs talks about trusting in the Lord with my whole heart. It also says to lean not on my own understanding but to acknowledge Him in all my ways and He will make my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The Bible says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
It also says to “give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;” (Colossians 4:2 NASB)
One of my favorite methods of prayer is A.C.T.S.—adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
- Adoration: Recognize who God is, praise Him for His perfect character, and give Him the glory.
- Confession: Confess my unworthiness, repent from my rebellion and sinful thoughts, words, and actions (Psalm 51 & 32), and submit to His gracious rule over my life.
- Thanksgiving: Give Him profuse thanks for every good gift (James 1:17), rejoice in the tough things of life because He is faithful (James 1:2), and tell Him you love Him.
- Supplication: And then ask Him to supply your needs (Philippians 4:19), the provision for and healing of others, and salvation for the lost.
Also, Jesus modeled prayer for us. Go read Matthew 6:9-13.
“If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.” (Martin Luther)
Stoke the fire. Don’t let it burn out. I agree with Luther. I’d even take it a step beyond “a single day” and say “a single hour.” My days are often filled with tiny bursts of prayer because I cannot do life alone. I need His strength (Philippians 4:13).
“The little estimate we put on prayer is evident from the little time we give to it. Not infrequently the Christian’s only praying is by his bedside in his night clothes, ready for bed and soon in it, with perchance, the addition of a few hasty snatches of prayer before he is dressed in the morning. How feeble, vain and little is such praying compared with the time and energy devoted to praying by holy men in and out of the Bible! How poor and mean our petty, childish praying is beside the habits of the true men of God in all ages.” (E. M. Bounds)
You better believe I’m livin’ on prayer. Maybe not like rock groups or politicians. But my soul needs to communicate most frequently with the One who loves me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
I found this Spurgeon quote once and it stays taped down to my desk at work:
“A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love. Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter oftener into the banqueting-house of his love. Pray that thou mayst be an example and a blessing unto others, and that thou mayst live more to the glory of thy Master. The motto for this year must be, ‘Continue in prayer.'”
I want to live by this motto. Guided by prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through me, may I live for the good of others and the glory of God.