What a privilege to pray. In the life of a Christian, prayer takes on many unique aspects. To begin with, we are praying to a living God, not an inanimate object or some human-made idol. We get to partner with God in prayer as He invites us into His presence, and we experience Him personally.
After all, God is Jehovah, the relational God, who is interested and invested in a covenant relationship with His people. Prayer affords us the opportunity to cultivate our relationship with God and enjoy perpetual fellowship with our Creator.
When we consider most major world religions, we understand prayer is not an uncommon phenomenon. Many people demonstrate great discipline when it comes to praying.
However, other religions lack supporting evidence that their gods are, in fact, active, living spirits, as is our God, Yahweh. As a result, this would make prayer nothing more than a ritualistic, ceremonial activity that is void of any authentic, meaningful connection with a deity.
Prayer times for Christians are unique because they can be engaged in a variety of ways: publicly, corporately, and privately. Prayer is extremely personal. Our prayers are formal, fluid, structured, and spontaneous.
There is absolutely nothing we cannot pray about because God beckons us to this space with Him where honesty, transparency, and vulnerability are valued. Philippians 4:6-7 affirms for us,
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (NKJV).
Likewise, there is no restriction on the location of our prayers, the amount or length of our prayers, or the literal time of day we choose to commune with God. We are never confined as we approach the throne of God.
There are no boundaries or limitations (internally or externally) powerful enough to impede our ability to access God through prayer. These are all characteristics that make our prayer times unique.
Let us consider four ways Christians can embrace our sweet and sacred times of prayer, as we have been afforded this unique gift from the Lord.
1. We Can Pray about Our Cares
Some religions do not advocate discussing personal matters when praying to a deity. The emphasis is on the deity itself, not the individual praying.
Concern for worries and problems of life are not given attention as in the Christian faith tradition. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT).
Psalm 55:22 also declares, “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
We can take consolation in knowing how much God cares about us and that he wants us to cast our cares upon Him.
God is not far removed from the affairs we confront and deal with on a day-to-day basis. In fact, He wants us to turn to Him so that we are comforted during our times of seeking Him in prayer.
2. We Can Petition God for Direction
It is not the will of God for us to be confused or unsure of what to do and how to live as Christians. God has specific plans to fulfill His ordained purposes as it relates to us.
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (ESV).
Our God is always intentional and deliberate in everything He does, including the direction He has intended for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).
Prayer is the perfect platform for us to ask God for direction. There is no reason for us to be in the dark about anything when God is the master designer with a master plan for us, His chosen masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
Our prayer time is a special place where we gain clarity about God’s direction. As we seek to follow in His way, we will have greater joy, peace, and fulfillment along our journey.
3. We Can Receive Strength and Power
One example in Scripture we find of someone who functioned as a conduit for the power of God through prayer is Elijah.
James 5:17 reminds us, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”
God used Elijah to demonstrate His power in many instances as a result of his fervent prayers. It is noteworthy that God not only strengthens us in prayer but also allows His power to flow through us when we pray to Him. He often uses us as catalysts of His power for the good of others and for His ultimate glory.
This power we receive is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. It is alive and active within us today (Romans 8:11). What good news for every Believer! When we pray, we align ourselves with the all-sufficient power of God that evidences power through our very words.
Our words are not empty or void, but they carry the weight of God as we speak in agreement with His spirit and Holy Word in prayer.
Christians can pray with authority and be confident that they are victorious through Christ Jesus. We have His divine power and His supernatural strength released to us each time we pray.
4. We Can Know God Intimately
Throughout the Bible, we find countless examples of regular, ordinary people who came to know God intimately as a result of their prayer life. There was nothing exceptional about their humanity, they just simply chose to draw near to God through prayer.
It is this ability to know God for ourselves that truly makes the Christian faith remarkable. We do not need any intermediary accommodation because we have direct access to our Heavenly Father.
When we consider how our God is the maker of the universe, omnipotent, and sovereignly maintains everything He has created, we can stand in awe and amazement that He also desires to have an intimate relationship with His children.
We are each God’s favored, and He wants all of us to individually experience abiding devotion and belonging with Him.
One who illustrated an exemplary prayer life that bore fruit of an intimate walk with the Lord was Daniel. Daniel related to God with such fondness and fidelity that he trusted God to speak to him through knowledge and interpretation of dreams.
God even gave him prophetic insights and revelations about things that were to come. Daniel understood this was all possible because he was in an ongoing relationship with God.
One nugget of wisdom we can apply from Daniel’s model is how regularity in prayer pulls us closer to God. Daniel had a practice of praying three times a day.
I can imagine this simple yet profound habit solidified constant growth in his fellowship with God. He shows us it is possible to have an intimate connection with God through consistent prayer (Daniel 6:10).
A Closing Prayer
Lord, thank you for the unique ways you offer me to encounter your presence in prayer. Teach me to cling to you through unceasing prayer. Thank you for the privilege of casting my cares on you, petitioning you for direction, receiving your strength and power, and knowing you intimately because of the affinity I have for you as I pray. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
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Championing women to live authentically and pursue God passionately, Patrice Burrell is called to lead others to the grace of God, rooted in the truth of scripture. She is an author, life coach, and worship leader who loves practicing the presence of God through a lifestyle anchored in spiritual disciplines. As a Bible teacher and preacher, she exhorts women to remember their true identity is defined in Christ, not culture. When not serving at her local church with the small groups and singles’ ministries, Patrice enjoys visiting local Orlando attractions, reading books while sitting along the beach, and finding unique ways to explore her writing creativity. You can connect with Patrice on her blog, Warrior Woman Blog, on social media in her Facebook community, Warrior Women, and @patriceburrellministries on Facebook and Instagram. Patrice is excited about her new book release, Living My Best Life: Embracing God’s Gift of Living Full and Single. It is a six-session Bible study designed especially for single women. You can also check out her debut book, Warrior Slay, a devotional book on the power of worship and prayer.