What’s the big deal with prayer?
I have to confess that I didn’t always believe that God listens to our prayers, or that praying was necessary; but thankfully that was a long time ago. Now, I know not only is it necessary to pray, but it is just as important as breathing. The other thing I can assure you is that God answers our prayers; because I sure have had some doozies answered. I have also had a few answered in ways I didn’t expect too.
In Good News Club when I am teaching the kids about prayer I explain that, God answers our prayers in three ways,
Yes, No, and Wait
Yes, is of course our preferred answer. No, can hurt but it is definitive. I have never had God tell me "no" to something I asked for, that wasn’t later reviled to me to have been in my best interest; especially when I tried to push it through and failed miserably. For me the real test to my faith comes when I hear him say WAIT. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a killer. I have little patience, (in fact I pray regularly for the Lord to give me more patience and to give it to me now!) but it is hard to wait. Psalm 145:15-16 reminds us “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” It’s the due time part that makes people think God isn’t listening, but His time is not our time, but is, the perfect time.
No matter the answer, we all need to pray, because Prayer is a pathway for us to communicate with God. He wants us to get to know Him better. I found that most people believe it is through prayer that God gets to know us. But trust me; He already knows everything about us. Matthew 10:30 tells us “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Jesus said this, and He was not exaggerating, God is very interested in you personally. God has an intimate knowledge about you and me; our bodies, family, finances, relationships, and even our thoughts. Not one thing can be hidden from Him, He sees you inside and out. So, if He knows you that well you might ask,
“So, what’s the big deal with prayer?”
Prayer is not a coin in the cosmic vending machine in God’s waiting room. It is a conduit to heaven, an all-access pass to the Throne room. God cares about us, and He has all the time in the world to sit and talk. James 4:8 tells us to, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It‘s when we share our most private worries, and dreams we begin to build a relationship with God. It is in these open unguarded moments we show Him our sincerity to change, admit our faults, and express our needs this is when God is closest to us. But be warned Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.” Before we begin to pray for our needs and desires we need to do a little house cleaning. The only way to do this is to turn from our sins, and to repent. You might say,
“So, what’s a sin; and what’s this repentance stuff?”
Let’s go back to Good News Club for the easiest answer I ever heard. A sin is anything that we,
Think, Say or Do that breaks God’s laws
Think, yes even the thoughts in our head can be a sin counted against us. I don’t know if you are like me but it is hard to mind my mind, it is always going down paths I wish it didn’t. Say, the things we utter out of our mouths to others and to ourselves can be as destructive as being hit by a mac truck. We let things slip out without a care to the feelings and consequences we produce. Do, the television and movies we watch, the places we go for fun, the things that take up our time can all lead to our separation from the Holy Spirit. At least you and I are in good company because King David and the Apostle Paul had the same problems. Paul said in Romans 7:15 “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” David said in Psalm 51:3 “For I know my Transgressions, and my sin is always before me” But both of these men went on to do great things for the Lord, and we know without a doubt that He definitely answered their prayers.
The step they didn’t miss was to have a contrite heart; which bring us to repentance. We need to be truly remorseful about our actions and acknowledge our sins against God’s laws. For the past 10 years each night before bed our children say the Ten Commandments, it’s not just about their memorization skills, it’s about making God’s words a part of them. So, when the time comes for them to make the choice to follow God’s way or the world’s way they will have a ready answer. If it has been awhile since you looked over the commandments in Exodus 20:1–17 go there and pray that with Jesus’ help you will have a repentant heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13 tells us that once we have done this “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”