We live in a problem-solving culture. Having a restless night? Try essential oils. Have a headache? Try an aspirin. Stressful day at work? Pop in a movie. Upset with your boss at work? Call your sister.
Obviously, these are all important tools and resources (and ones I use on the regular). But today I want us all to take a minute and ask ourselves this question: what does it take in my life for me to turn to prayer as a solution?
What is Prayer?
Put simply, prayer is how we communicate with God.
God created us to be part of his family, just the way any father or mother on earth has children to grow a family. We were made in his likeness, to be in relationship with him, and to make his name famous.
If we were designed to be with him and we’re not regularly communicating with him, we’re suffocating.
Prayer is our life line, our oxygen tank. It connects us to our Father.
That oxygen tank is how we live or die spiritually. Sure you may get along just fine physically. You may get all the food, clothing and shelter you need but your soul will be desperate for the fresh air that is Jesus.
A powerful verse from 1 Chronicles 16:11 says “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (NIV)
That’s often how I think of prayer, not just when I need something, not just when I’m guilted into it by my pastor, not just when my situation becomes dire, but always.
Prayer is a joyful opportunity to communicate with the most powerful being that has ever or will ever exist. He allows us the opportunity to be near him, he allows us the privilege of stepping into his throne room just to talk.
Prayer is a privilege we cannot take lightly.
Prayer is a Two-Way Conversation
Imagine meeting your best friend for coffee after you haven’t spoken to him in over a month. You give him a hug, you order your coffee, you find your table and for the next ten minutes you list off everything that’s bothering you and what you’d like him to do to fix it. Then you get a text and lose interest in the conversation so you get up and leave without another word.
How would your friend feel? Not great, right?
So why do we (myself included) treat God this exact same way sometimes?
Because we’re not treating prayer like the privilege that it is.
There’s More to Prayer than Requests
Earlier I presented this question to you: what does it take in my life for me to turn to prayer as a solution? But I want to challenge you even deeper today to think of prayer not only as a solution to your problem, because it’s so much more than that.
The primary purpose of prayer isn’t requesting, it’s interaction. Prayer is not only an opportunity to make your requests known to God (which we are called to do — see Philippians 4:6), it’s an opportunity to be in his presence.
For example, you could:
- Ask him, “how are you feeling today? Do you have any requests to make of me this week? How can I love you and your children better?”
- Spend time telling him all the things you love and appreciate about him (If you don’t know where to start, try reading Psalm 103, 104, 111, or 139 out loud to him)
- Share with him all the ways he amazed you this week in his creation and his plan for your life (maybe he orchestrated a reunion with an old friend, maybe he opened a new opportunity for you — give him credit for all the work he’s doing in your life)
So ask your questions, make your requests, but never forget that the primary purpose of prayer is simply quality time with God.
Maybe the answer to your stress, your family crisis, or your anger isn’t another self-help book or even another prayer asking God to remove those things or add to your patience. Maybe the answer is just sitting in his presence, letting him speak into your life, and knowing that he enjoys every minute we spend with him. Knowing the all-powerful creator of the universe enjoys spending time with you will massively adjust your perspective on life.
I’m not saying that will be easy, especially for someone like me who is a problem-solver at heart. But as we spend that time with him, we learn more about who he is and we start to become more like him.
And that, my friend, is why you were put on this earth — to look and love like your beautiful savior, Jesus.