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Why Is Prayer Important?

Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.” He couldn’t be more right. But what if we pushed a little bit on Edwards’ metaphor? You breathe every day. In fact, the equation is rather simple: If you don’t breathe, you don’t live. Breath in our lungs is almost a casual reality. However, there are also regular times in life when we need to stop, concentrate, and catch our breath. While prayer ought to be a daily, normal, and natural thing that infiltrates all of the Christian life, we also need focused and intentional times of prayer. Catching our spiritual breath, if you will.

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of his willingness.” Martin Luther

Prayer is a gift. It’s speaking and listening to God because of his grace. It’s honest, open, and humble communing with him because of his generosity to us. Prayer isn’t presumptuously asking God to do certain things, in certain ways, and at certain times. True and biblical prayer gives voice to our dependence on God in all things – in our requests, our gratitude, our listening, our questions, our frustration, our praise, our desperation, our joys, our defeats, our victories. Because a healthy life of prayer ought to be this thorough, God has given us different kinds of prayer suitable for the different situations we find ourselves in.

Throughout Scripture, we see God’s people trusting him through various kinds of prayer. This is done both individually and corporately. For example:

  • A prayer of thanksgiving expresses gratitude to God for who he is and/or what he has done.
  • A prayer of petition (also known as supplication) brings requests and needs before God.
  • A prayer of lament takes one’s own confusion, sadness, or even anger directly to God while still trusting him through them.
  • A prayer of confession admits one’s sin and seeks to continue in repentance from that sin.
  • A prayer of intercession goes to God on behalf of other people and their needs.
  • A prayer of praise joyfully declares God’s worth by speaking highly of who he is and/or what he has done.

Ultimately, prayer allows us to stop, concentrate, and catch our breath. As Jesus’ family, we want to learn to pause in prayerful worship throughout our days as we passionately pursue communing with God. Remember, prayer ought to be like breathing. We can’t survive without it. Because of this, we can pray anywhere: around the supper table, in the car on the way to work, in our personal times of devotion, or even at lunch with a friend. We can thank God for his grace, beg for his mercy, and praise his goodness. And when we are frustrated over situations we don’t understand, we can pray to cry out to God in our confusion or pain, trusting his power to breathe continued life into us.

Use our Prayer Collective to encourage you to talk to and hear from God more faithfully.

*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.*

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Written by Jim Thompson