Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (King James Version)
What does your day to day look like? After reflecting on that could you honestly say that prayer is one of the things that you do everyday? Why is prayer so important to God and why is it so difficult for us to practice prayer daily?
All of us, myself included, struggle with having a consistent prayer life. I believe what keeps us from praying is the hectic pace of life that we live in. Even when we do have a break, we are often too exhausted or too distracted with leisure time to consider praying to God.
I also think people forgo prayer because they believe that prayer is something that is formal in nature. People consider what Christian tradition’s definition of prayer is and ask themselves, “Who has time to go through such ceremonies?” Despite what tradition says, there is nothing formal about prayer.
Consider when you are talking to a best friend. Do you go through a specific ceremony to begin conversation? Of course not, you either visit them, give them a call on the phone, or shoot them an e-mail of text message; there is nothing formal about it. Prayer is a lot like communicating to a best friend, the only difference is there is no need to call Him (He has no cell phone), or write Him an e-mail (He has no need of a computer).
Instead, unlike talking to our friends who may or may not be available to talk to us from time to time, all we need to do to talk to God is think about Him (with sincerity of heart) and talk to Him (either in our heart or with our mouths) and He will be available 24/7. What does that mean for us? That means if we are on the road to work, we can pray to Him (with our eyes on the road of course), if we are stressed in a situation we can pray to God in our hearts a quick prayer for help (I found these to be very helpful), or if you are exercising you can focus and God and talk to Him about your day.
Furthermore I believe what prevents us from having a consistent prayer life is our understanding of what prayer is for. There is this view that some people have that if we pray to God for something, He is obligated to fulfill it because He loves us. However if He doesn’t give us what we want, then we become angry and don’t pray to Him anymore (after all He didn’t pull through with our request).
This view of God is not Biblical and it compares Him to a Divine vending machine or some kind of genie. God is neither of these things and that is not how prayer should be viewed. As I mentioned earlier, prayer is communication to God like you would talk to a best friend. Do you ask for anything you want from your friends? Of course not, for if you did, you would run out of friends real fast.
So is prayer just a communication with God? It is, but it is also something much more. We are human beings that were created by God and are dependent on Him, but sin has caused us to be separated from Him; producing a God-shape hole in our hearts, leaving us empty and incomplete. That is why the Lord’s will for us is to pray to Him, so that He can refill that hole that is within us. Praying to God replenishes our spirit when the things in this dark and sinful world bring us down. Therefore, let us make the time praying to our God without ceasing; it is not for His benefit that we pray, it is for ours.