By Sandy Quandt
Prayer is a privilege. We should not take it lightly, nor should we neglect it. Prayer is a tool. It is used to take our praises, requests, thanksgiving, and repentance before the throne of God. Prayer is a lifestyle. It should become as natural to us as breathing.
Prayer Is a Privilege
Prayer allows us access to the Father. When we pray, God turns his ear to us and hears as we call upon his name. Second Chronicles 7:14 says if God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek the Father’s face, and turn from their wicked ways God will hear, forgive, and heal.
The positions we assume when we approach God in prayer may vary. We might kneel in humility or stand in reverence. Our hands may be raised in praise or folded in submission. We might bow our heads or turn our face heavenward. While there are many postures of prayer, the posture of our hearts is what matters. Are we focused on knowing and pursuing our Creator, or are we behaving like the hypocrite Jesus warned about in Matthew 6? We must guard ourselves so we do not abuse the privilege granted us to boldly approach the throne of the Holy One.
Prayer Is a Tool
We pray to seek God’s help, unlock his rich blessings, and confess our sins. Think of prayer as an acronym: Praise, Request, Acknowledge, and Yield.
Praise. Think of God’s attributes—his characteristics. Name them as they come to mind: the great I AM, who was, and is, and is to come; a shelter in a time of trouble; the great physician; our rock, our sword, our shield; King of kings and lord of lords. Think of the words to songs that glorify his name: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God; ” “We Will Glorify;” and “We Bow Down.”
When Paul and Silas were bound in chains in a Philippian jail, Acts 16 records they prayed and sang hymns to God. Praise came before deliverance. When we praise our deliverer for what he has brought us through in the past, we can trust he will send the lifeboat of rescue once more.
Request. The Creator of the universe invites us to lay our requests and petitions at his feet. Prayer unlocks God’s blessings and power. Our Father may tell us “Yes.” He may tell us “No.” He may tell us “Wait.” Whatever we ask, we are confident he is capable of providing. All the while, we understand that in his wisdom, he may provide something other than what we have requested.
Acknowledge. In prayer we acknowledge God as the giver of every good and perfect gift. If we say nothing else in our prayers, “Thank you” should be at the top of the list. How can we not thank the author of our salvation for the unspeakable gift of Jesus?
Yield. When we yield to God, we surrender ourselves to his perfect timing and will. We ask him to remove the sin from our lives, even if doing so means it will hurt. We ask him to help us do the things that are pleasing in his sight. We submit to the will of the Lord, knowing he is sovereign. We accept with assurance that whatever comes into our lives will be for our good and God’s glory. As J.B. Philips translates Romans 8:26, during those times of “agonizing longings which cannot find words,” the Holy Spirit takes our groanings to the Father on our behalf.
Prayer Is a Lifestyle
Prayer should become such an integral part of our being that if we forget to pray, or if we are late in keeping our appointment to meet with our friend, we feel we have missed something important. Unending communication with God is a worthy goal. He longs to hear from us. He wants to spend time with us. We benefit from spending time conversing with our Father. We benefit when we are still before the Almighty, listening for his voice.
Take time to be alone with God. If we are too tired from our busy days to speak with him before we turn in for the night, perhaps we need to clear the clutter from our schedules. Does the television need to be turned off? Do extra activities that consume us need to be curtailed? Do we need to disconnect from the computer and our social networking? If we ask him, the author of our days will show us what is important, and what is not.
We are careful to set appointments and pencil them into our day planners. Shouldn’t we do the same with our prayer time? That might mean setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier to have quiet time before the rest of the family wakes up. Or it might mean staying up after everyone else has gone to bed. Jesus set the example for us. He rose early in the morning to pray. And he prayed throughout the night.
Although we are told to pray in our rooms with the door shut, praying without ceasing means praying at all times and in all situations. We can pray on our daily walks and during our commutes to and from work. We can pray while cleaning the house and while working on the car. We can pray while standing in line at the grocery store and while waiting for an appointment. The Holy Spirit brings people and issues to our minds, and not always during our scheduled prayer time. We need to listen for his nudging and be ready to pray.
Talking with God is a privilege. Even though he knows what is on our hearts, and what we have need of before we can form the words, he longs to hear from us. For some of us, the tool of prayer may be well-worn. For others, it may need to be dusted off and put to work. Either way, prayer should become a way of life—the rule rather than the exception. Just like breathing.
Sandy Quandt is a freelance writer in Seabrook, Texas.
Guiding Future Generations in Prayer
Helping Kids Pray
by Katie Barbee
This hands-on book contains 52 types of prayer with examples. Tips are provided to guide leaders and parents as they teach children how to pray.
Praying from the Gut
by Steven James
If you could tell God anything, what would you say? This devotional study of the Psalms helps teens be authentic in communing with God.
I Can Pray
by Jennifer Holder
The story is about a young girl who learns that she can pray to God any time and any place and tell him anything! Give this to a child in your life.
Find out more information on these books: