Have you ever heard the saying “Read your bible and pray every day if you want to grow”? It may sound cliche but that is really the basic steps to take if our relationship with God will grow. Spending time reading his word and praying. It is something that you may think of as religious but as you go along in your christian journey, you will realize the absolutely necessity of spending time studying and praying. While reading the bible may be as simple as it sounds or maybe not, at least it presents itself as something easy to do. Prayer on the other hand doesn’t present itself quite like that, not because it can’t be a simple spiritual exercise, for one reason or the other people just find it hard to pray and we can attribute this to so many factors. There is always something that gets in the way of praying, so maybe we don’t fully grasp the value that prayer has and what exactly it does for us? I know it becomes more of a necessity when we are hard pressed and in some kind of trouble, when life has us cornered and nothing else seems to work. At that point we become desperate and many of us are forced to pray but should that be the only thing that brings us to our knees? What is the true essence and the value of prayer? Maybe if we discovered that, it will somehow arouse a deeper passion and desire in us to spend more time doing it.
At that time, people began to call on the name of the Lord……Genesis 4:26b NIV
This was around the time Adam and Eve gave birth to Seth, I tried to understand why the bible felt the need to highlight this, I don’t think it was so much of Seth’s birth but the state of affairs of mankind. Cain murdered his brother, sin was starting to play a more prominent role in the history of man, Lamech who was Cain’s grandson to the fifth generation also killed a man and I am pretty sure there were more murders and evil beyond what was recorded up to that point. Could it be that man felt the need to call on God because he could no longer handle and deal with the dysfunction that he had caused? Remember man had chosen to live life on his own terms and reject God’s way or doing things. This was not a need for God based on food and drink, I believe this was a need for God as a counter to Man’s experience. You see, under the heavens life is chaotic and devoid of God’s presence and the only way that void can be filled is for God to be invited back in so his presence can fill it.
Prayer is an escape from the disorder and chaos of this world, take a look at what David in Psalm 55
Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”….Psalm 55:1-8 NIV
Also look at what he said In Psalm 91:1
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…Psalm 91:1 NIV
You see for David, spending time with God was a way of escaping this craziness of the world and all the burden that it brings and places on the soul of man, when we talk about craziness, I am pretty sure David would know, with everything that he went through in his life. It is the same for us as well, look at the world around you , the turmoil, the wickedness and evil that is prevalent on a daily basis, there is no doubt we need God. If we do not spend time in prayer, then we will walk around with the feeling this world is lost and hopeless and nothing good can come out of it. On the other hand, when we allow ourselves to pull away and enter into God’s sphere, things are much different, we see light, we see a hope that is certain and things around us take a godly perspective. The devil has won nothing really, it may look like evil is winning but we know that is not the case when we glimpse into the spiritual and God opens our eyes and our minds to what he has in store for us.
If prayer is a way for us to escape the human disorder, it is definitely an invitation from God into spiritual order. We are not only required to pray, God actually wants to hear from us, he is eager to speak to us. When it boils down to it, it really is a moment of conversation with God himself, we are not just wandering in a spiritual vacuum, this is not mere mediation where we empty our minds, no this is a journey from earth to heaven, from the natural to the spiritual, from chaos to calm, we are not just floating in space, our prayer is directed towards the maker of the universe himself.
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon….John 1:35-39 NIV
What do you think they were doing? Having a conversation and learning from him and that is what prayer is. Communication and conversation grows a relationship and our relationship with God is no different, we cannot develop a godly perspective if we don’t spend time with God.
Prayer is also an opportunity for intimacy, it draws us closer to God, it shows a yearning and a desire in us to be closer to him and so the question is do we desire intimacy? If we do then we need to place a lot of value on prayer and seek opportunities to do so.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you….Psalm 63:1-3
Prayer may be challenging and difficult sometimes but that does not erase its importance and value, it is time to begin to see prayer different and engage in it more and more.