Good Reasons to Pray
It is a great privilege. Can you think of any greater honor than to have an audience with the One who rules over ALL creation? We have been invited to talk with the one who put the stars in place. We are invited to seek counsel from the One who is truth and wisdom. We are invited to sit down with the One who knows all things. The Puritan John Preston lays it out very plainly, "Prayer is a privilege purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ died for this end, it cost him the shedding of his blood, so that we, through him, might have entrance to the throne of grace. And will you let such a privilege as this lie still? If you do, so far as is in you, you cause his blood to be shed in vain. For if you neglect the privileges gotten by that blood, you neglect the blood that procured them." [The Puritans on Prayer p.17]
Conversation is a part of any vital and growing relationship. We sometimes measure the quality of a marriage relationship by how well the couples communicates. Or to state it another way, one of the first things people point to as evidence that a marriage is in trouble is a lack of communication. The same is true for our relationship with the Father. True, honest, heartfelt conversation is a sign of a healthy relationship. A lack of conversation, or conversation only in public is a sign of a relationship in trouble.
We should pray because we are in a fierce battle. Constantly we are warned of the Devil's intention to neutralize and demoralize us. We are told that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood. but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:10). We are in a battle and we need the help of God. The enemy has marshaled his armies ... when we neglect prayer, we go into battle unarmed. Do you find it at all instructive that Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, found it necessary to pray? If He did not feel He could face the battle in His own strength .. neither should we.
Prayer is a deterrent to sin in our lives. In the quiet times of private, honest prayer God exposes the rationalizations and the excuses that we use to cater to sin. In prayer God holds a mirror up to our lives so we can see the way we really are and repent. Prayer makes a difference. The circumstances change when people pray. Diseases are sometimes healed, strength is imparted, guidance is given, hearts are softened, needs are met.
1) Set aside a time for prayer. Get up early. Block off a certain time. Find a quiet place. Give prayer priority in your schedule.
2) Discuss your life with the Father. Too many times we "do our prayers" and then move on. We have taken care of our guilt but we have never really touched the throne. So, make your prayer time personal. Talk honestly about your struggles, your fears, your calendar. Listen carefully.
3) Use the Word of God as a starting point. Read through a passage of Scripture and then apply that scripture to your life. When you read a command to "forgive others" ask God to help you release the bitterness and the hurt that makes you resist that command. When you read about the importance of "thinking pure thoughts" confess the areas where your thinking is polluted and ask God for help to think better. This practice will help you focus on the deeper issues rather than the superficial.
4) Keep a prayer list. Make a list of the people you pray for. Be specific. What needs do you want to help carry for another. When someone asks you to pray for them, add them to your list. Then make it a point to contact these people and tell them you are praying for them daily. This is important because the next time you are tempted to omit your time of prayer you will remember that you told someone you were praying for them ... and in your desire to be faithful you will make time to pray.