There are some things that we do as Christians, together or as individuals, that help us to grow in our faith and get closer to God. These are known as ‘spiritual disciplines’ and we’ve usually been instructed to do them in the Bible. In this series – Why We Do What We Do? – we’ll be looking at some of these disciplines to understand a bit more about why we do them, how they help us grow and ways to practice them!
Why Do We: Pray?
Lots of people pray. For Christians, prayer is talking to God. It’s something that we’re encouraged to do and see lots of examples of in the Bible… But why do we have to do it?
- We’re in a relationship. When we become Christians we enter into a relationship with God, and just like a relationship between people, communication is essential! Prayer is talking to God, and it helps us to develop our relationship with Him. As we listen for His voice, we can get to know Him better too.
- We need help! This one is quite obvious and the reason why most people pray. God can do everything, so we ask Him for help and for things we need. He is all-knowing, so He knows what we need before we ask Him, but He loves it when we come to ask Him because it allows us to get closer to Him. We can’t do anything without God really, which is why Paul tells us to pray all the time!
- We are human, which means we are imperfect and we are not in control. Prayer is how we ask God to forgive our sins and we can ask for help not to sin when we are facing temptation. It is also a time when we can ‘hand over’ certain situations to God, knowing that we cannot control them, but trusting that He can. We cast our cares on Him and ask Him to do what only He can do. Recognising that we are human and that God is God is also the reason that we express other things in prayer – how thankful we are for everything, how awesome He is,
- We don’t always see clearly. Talking things out with other people can often help us to get a different perspective on a situation. When we talk to God, we can’t help but become aware of how big and amazing is, and this really helps us change our perspective! Sometimes we don’t see the path ahead clearly either. Praying can help us to know what to do next, to know what God’s will is for us.
- We are in a spiritual battle. Paul talks about how our fight is not with flesh and blood. Sometimes, we need to fight against things that we cannot see, and prayer is the way to do that.
- We are invited to be partners with God. God can do everything by Himself, but like a parent who could bake the cake him or herself, He invites us children to help Him do it just because He loves to do things with us! When we pray for others, we get to partner with God in what He’s doing! In the Bible and throughout history, there are many examples of times when the prayers of God’s people for community, national or global scale issues caused something big to happen. How amazing is that!
- Spend some time just talking with God, like you would with a friend. Don’t ask for anything. Tell him about your day, and how amazing He is. Then listen back to what He has to say (keep your Bible handy because He often speaks through that!)
- If you don’t already, set aside at least 5 mins in your day to pray. Here’s a great tip from my lovely pal
- Get together with a group of friends and pray for each other… out loud! It will build your confidence in prayer, and you’ll also get to encourage each other and invite God to work in your lives
- Attend a prayer meeting at your church
- Find a national or global Christian organisation and sign up to their prayer list, e.g. Christian Aid. Incorporate these big requests into your prayer time and trust that God will act!
- Use ACTS to structure your next prayer time: A – Adoration, C – Confession (saying sorry for what you’ve done wrong), T – Thanksgiving, S – Supplication (asking for things)