Prayer is one of those things I have never felt like I was good at. It never seemed to come naturally when I prayed in front of a group. Sometimes I didn’t know how to approach God about a certain situation. Or I simply just lacked the motivation to put everything else away and spend time talking to God. Prayer was never something that excited me. I feel like a horrible Christian for saying that. But this year, I have been more engaged with prayer than I think I ever have been. I have been more intentional in the time I spend praying and more engaged in what I am praying about. I have seen God work through prayer and it has been an incredible blessing.
The thing that got me hung up the most on prayer was that I didn’t understand how prayer actually did anything since God already has a plan in place. I found myself asking “what good will praying for this do because it seems like God has already figured it all out?” The problem with this is that I approached prayer solely as an exchange. I’ll come to you in prayer, God, if you do this, this, and this for me. There seemed to lack any real intention of meeting God in prayer. It was a checklist item at best. Thankfully, this year God really did a work in me to change my posture towards prayer.
See, the whole reason for prayer is connection. Jesus wants to spend time with us. He wants to sit and have a cup of coffee with us much like we would do with a friend. More than just asking for things, He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him. He desires a relationship with us and prayer is a time where we get to draw close to Him and let Him see our broken and our beautiful hearts. One of the best things about Jesus is that we don’t have to come to Him all polished and pristine... actually just the opposite. He wants us to be vulnerable with Him. Prayer is a time we get to lay it all out on the table and hold nothing back.
Prayer is a wonderful avenue that God gave us as a way to personally connect with Him. It is something that I take for granted. I forget what a gift it is. Prayer does change things. Does it change God’s mind? I’m not sure. But I do know that it changes things in my heart and brings me closer to God. I challenge you to think about your relationship with prayer and if you need to, change your posture to one of relationship and not exchange. Think about prayer like you are sitting down with a friend talking about life. It really is that simple.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV)