Google the word prayer and you will get about 830,000,000 results.
Prayer is obviously something that people are curious about and often is something that we complicate more than necessary. Because of its importance, we feel that a simple approach is not effective. But prayer is just a personal conversation, “a spiritual transaction with the creator of heaven and earth,” according to Charles Spurgeon.
There was a time in my life that I thought that prayer required a certain amount of fancy and theological language sprinkled evenly with “Dear Lord” and “Our Father.” Prayer to impress instead of prayer to press into his presence. That type of prayer life does not sustain us in our Christian journey because no real connection is rooting our soul and grounding our spirit.
Martin Luther describes it best:
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
Intimate prayer is our lifeline sustaining our connection to the life-giver.
Without prayer, we are no better than a branch that has been cut from a tree, soon to wither and die.
There is nothing quite like a summer afternoon rain shower where all of nature takes on a fresh identity, appearing renewed and refreshed. For Ohio, this past spring was one for the records. Nearly every day was filled with rain! So much so that our farmers couldn’t even plant many of their over-saturated fields.
Those months were full of rain that freshened and cleansed everything. In contrast, the late summer and fall were a drought…dusty dry, hard ground with no rain to refresh anything. This image is the perfect analogy of our prayer lives.
Prayer refreshes and renews.
The drought, without times of prayer, leaves our hearts and minds hard and infertile.
To pray is simply a two-way conversation with God. If we want to develop a closer relationship with a friend or family member, we can do so through regular conversations. We speak…we listen. The same is true for our relationship with God. He is always there waiting for us to reach out. Jeremiah 29:12 tells us that,
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
The Effective Prayer
Jesus himself was our best model for effective prayer. So what examples did he leave for us to follow?
- He arose early in the morning to start his day in fellowship with the Father. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35).
- He ended his day in communion with God. One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God (Luke 6:12).
- He counted on God to get him through his toughest hours and submitted to God’s will in the most difficult and confusing of circumstances. Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14: 35-36
Possibilities of Prayer
If we could see what happened in the spiritual realm when we prayed, we would pray without ceasing as we are commanded to do in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.
The power of prayer is a relationship builder. It is one of the best things we can do for others and, great news for our busy world, prayer is portable and instantaneous.
Through prayer, our souls can connect with our creator, our atmospheres can shift, we will be strengthened, soothed, healed and empowered.
Prayer can unleash the impossible. It makes the miraculous possible.
Our world sure could use a little more of that! So, let’s shift our mindsets to one of praying without ceasing.
Tracy is a native West Virginian transplanted to Ohio where she lives on a farm with her husband and two children. She spends her days as a seventh-grade language arts teacher. She is the co-founder of Empowered Ministries, speaker and author of Prayer Warrior Princess. She is currently a graduate student at Wheaton College to further prepare her to better share the gospel message. She hopes for everyone to experience the freedom that she discovered as she fell in love with the man who died for her.