Some preach, some teach, some sing publicly, but all can pray. But, do we all pray? If so, why? If not, why not? Let us look at some of the reasons:
‘I seldom pray anymore because God never seems to answer me.’
‘I pray because people expect me to but I don’t really look for God’s answer.’
‘I am so busy I just have no time to pray!’
Prayer is a two-way conversation. We need to remember that God wants to speak to us more than we want to listen to Him. Prayer is not therefore begging God to do something He does not want to do. Prayer is not overcoming the reluctance of God.
I would describe prayer simply as a heart-communion with God – a dialogue between two people who love one another. Prayer should be like breathing. It should come naturally out of a meaningful relationship with God. It ought then to involve: worship, praise, confession, petition, listening and waiting. We should not pray because we have to be because we want to. We should delight to be in His presence. Time spent with the Lord touches us. It also changes us into seeing people and circumstances from the divine perspective.
What can prevent us from knowing this power in prayer? Only sin can.
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not hear me” Ps 66:18
So when we come before God in prayer, let us take time to confess our sin honestly and openly before God. Sins of pride, jealousy, rivalry, hypocrisy, lying, selfishness covetousness, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and the like, all need to be dealt with before God. Wrong relationship between husbands and wives; wrong attitudes to family or colleagues need to be laid bare before Him. We deceive ourselves if we think that we can approach God – a holy God – with unholy hearts and lips.
Search me O God and know my heart today;
Try me O Saviour and know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be, some wicked way in me,
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.
While preaching on the mighty power of prayer, the great British preacher Charles Spurgeon cried out: “The very act of prayer is a blessing. To pray is, as it were to bathe oneself in a cool stream, and so to escape from the heat of earth’s summer sun. To pray is to mount on eagle’s wings above the clouds and soar to heaven where God dwells.”