I think we have lost something. Lost something that brings us closer to God. Something that is a necessity of life. Prayer seems to be put on the back burner of most of our lives. I know for me, I often don’t think about the importance of prayer, so I’ll get caught up in serving others and pursuing God’s vision and I forget to come to him first! It’s such a silly thing, I’m running after what God wants for me, yet I forget to come to him first in all things. I think that is a trait that has been happening to many believers, we are running after the vision, but we forget to come humbly to God in prayer first. Now I know some of you may be thinking, I haven’t lost prayer, I pray in the mornings and before I eat a meal! This is good and is vital to our walk, but I think there is more to prayer than just once in the morning and before I eat. There is a power that comes with stepping into the presence of God. Prayer is direct communication with God, it’s the way we are able to cultivate that relationship with him, and it is the main way to prepare our hearts for what he wants to bring us. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, I feel myself getting set in a routine and trying to check it off my checklist. Pray in the morning, check. Read my bible, check. I am so focused on checking things off, that I miss what God wants to teach and reveal to me for that day. I meet with my dad each week and we started talking about this very idea. It was interesting to see that he felt the same way, that prayer has become a routine, when it should be a necessity to living life! That’s what I want to focus on today, how we as believers need to reclaim the power of prayer, because it will change and shape our life for greater things to come.
As I was reading through my bible during my quiet time this morning, I came across a verse in scripture that perfectly captures the value and power of prayer. James 5:13-16 says:
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
What a beautiful picture. If you remember my post last week, when I use the word beautiful, I always use it to mean how God is powerful in you and in his word. (Be sure to check out last week’s post if you missed it!) This is a beautiful picture. God never ceases to amaze me with his word, it always speaks to me just when I need it. He is using the words of James to show how powerful and vital prayer is. James is the brother of Jesus, I know right?! He kinda had the perfect sibling, literally! Even having a brother who did miracles and was the son of God, James is thought to not have believed until after the resurrection. He saw the power of God, and he understood after experiencing the spirit just how important a relationship with Christ is. Today I will use the word of James to show how we can reclaim prayer, and understand the role it plays in our spiritual walk.
Pray during the struggles.
Let’s face it, we all have hard days, maybe even hard years. I know for me, last year was a hard year. I was faced with many trials and heartbreaks, but one of the things that always brought me hope and peace was prayer. You may be stressed in your day, maybe you have anxieties about the future, and maybe you feel the attack of the enemy on your life. These are things that come against each of us, because it comes against me all the time. We have a very real enemy, one that wants to steal, kill, and destroy. One that wants to utterly crush every part of our spirit. We must understand our enemy, in order to combat him. The thing that is even better about this fight we all face is that we stand with the one who conquered death! We are on the side that has already won. So when the hardship comes and you feel the enemy speaking lies over you, what do we do? We come to God in prayer. Will it change the outcome of your struggle, maybe, and that’s a hard thing to deal with. I used to think God was a Fix-it-Felix type God, like the movie Wreck-it-Ralph. In the movie Ralph is a video game character that breaks things, and Felix is the Mario type character that taps his hammer to what is broken and it is restored completely. God doesn’t always do that to our situation, he may not heal the loved one, and he won’t always save you from your debt. God isn’t a vending machine. God is, however, the one who will restore your heart. God works in his all-knowing plan, but he will always restore our hearts when we come to him in prayer with our struggles.
Pray in times of joy.
This is probably the thing we forget about all the time. It’s easy to come to God when we are in trouble, but we often forget in times of goodness. One of the ways I want to live my life, is by making the most of every moment, making memories that I will cherish forever. These are sometimes big exciting moments, and sometimes it’s the quiet conversations with the ones close to us. In all of these situations, I am filled with joy, a great feeling of pleasure and happiness. In these moments, I thank God. I thank him for the time spent with the ones I love, I thank him for the blessings of getting home safely, and I thank him for the laughter I can find in life. I want to praise God in these moments, because God gives us joy. I have seen dark places, lost friends, and seen the temptations that I and those close to me fight; so I praise God. I will continue to praise him for the memories, because the joy I feel reminds me of the grace God has shown me, and how he has made all things new. I take pictures in these moments, I do this because I am able to look at my camera roll on my phone and see how God has blessed me and saved me. It is a reminder of how I need to pray in the times of joy, because it is a gift from him.
Pray for the small things.
This is something that I have learned to do recently, and it changes everything. It’s important to pray for the trials and the joys in life, but it is also important to pray for the small things. Things like, what should I eat for lunch today, or, do I want to see a new movie or Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a seventh time. Seem silly? I don’t think it is. God wants a relationship with us, and he wants us to spend time with him in everything. When we pray for the small things, God can teach us about the big things in life. I find that when I am in prayer about little things, God reveals to me incredible messages. I love reading comics, it’s one of my favorite hobbies (in case you couldn’t already tell from the title of my blog), and I learn lessons from them when I am in consistent prayer. The same might be true for you, maybe God wants to tell you something through your hobby. I used to think God only spoke to me during times of worship or in deep study of the bible, but God speaks to us in the small things when we learn to pray for the small things.
James speaks about the power and importance of prayer, because he understood how vital it is to our own walk with Christ. We as believers need to reclaim this amazing ability that God has given each of us. We have direct communication with the one who designed us and who wants us to follow after him. This needs to be something that is constant, speaking to God every moment of the day. We need to pray during the struggle and the times of joy. We need to pray for the small things in life. When we reclaim the power of prayer, our whole life changes. Nothing is the same. We live with a mindset focused on what God wants to show us, and that is a beautiful thing. Don’t lose this vital part of your faith, without it we become stuck in a routine, and no growth happens. When we reclaim prayer, we grow and cultivate our relationship with the one above all, and there is nothing greater than that.
Reclaim prayer in your life.