It is easy to be critical of prayer, particularly the prayers of others. Robert Murray McCheyne’s words are often cited because they remain painfully true: “You wish to humble a man? Ask him about his prayer life.”
Our prayers reveal much about us. Prayers with little or no worship and focusing on our needs (usually health) reveal a distorted, Adamic bent. What they reveal is self-centeredness, what Martin Luther labeled homo in se incurvatus: “man curved in on himself.” Listen to prayers at the church prayer meeting (if one still exists). You will discover that the majority of prayers are “organ recitals”—prayers for someone’s liver, kidney, or heart. Not that we shouldn’t pray for medical issues, but a preoccupation with health is itself a reflection of how little we understand why it is we desire good health. We desire it so that the person we are praying for lives for Jesus Christ.
Ever thought about why prayer is important? Wonder no more. Here are twelve reasons, rooted in truth, why prayer is absolutely important!
If seeing and embracing the sovereignty of God causes us to pray less, we have not yet understood his sovereignty, or prayer. Providence does not make prayer optional or incidental, but vital and indispensable. Not because God couldn’t do it another way — God does all that he pleases however he pleases — but because the sovereign God has chosen, precisely and wisely, to hang many of his plans on the prayers of his people.
Did anyone love and herald the absolute sovereignty of God like the apostle Paul? And yet he says in 2 Corinthians 1:11, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” He also calls believers to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18).
The pages of Scripture, and of history, are filled with the power and necessity of prayer, because the all-powerful God has chosen to hear and answer prayer.
My prayer life has gone through ebbs and flows over the years. Somewhere along the way, someone shared a simple outline for personal prayer with me called ACTS. And while there’s no one right way to pray—I’ve found this strategy really helpful. My hope is that if you want to learn how to pray, or if you’re seeking to grow in your prayer life, learning ACTS for personal prayer will bless you!
Do you ever find yourself struggling to know what to pray for? You want to make prayer part of your daily routine, but you feel like you are repeating yourself. You want to freshen things up.
You are not alone. For many Christians, prayer can sometimes feel dry or stale. Prayer is talking with someone who loves you deeply and knows you intimately, so it might be hard to admit or deal with when the conversation has seemed to dry up. Part of the problem can also be the temptation to see prayer as talking to God rather than talking with Him.