What if the secret to connecting our humdrum, mundane lives to the supernatural pleasantries of God was as simple as saying a prayer? What if the breath of ZOË life could be summoned by prayer? What if prayer is the avenue through which our earthly lives and God’s heavenly kingdom collide?
Could it be this simple?
Prayer is one of the most essential rites in Christianity. Everyone knows Christians pray, or at least we should. But praying is a struggle for many people because we are disconnected from the God we’re praying to. Samuel Bentley and Micah Wood, co-authors of Simple Devotion, observe, “Everyone assumes that everyone prays, but hardly anyone really does… We talk a lot about prayer, but we do very little actual praying.” My pastor, Louie Giglio, adds, “We’re not praying as much as we should be, and we’re not praying the way we ought to.” We know prayer is vital, yet we shy away from the prayer closet because it feels mundane, boring, and inactive compared to other spiritual activities. How, then, do we begin to enter into an intentional prayer life?
Prayer is more than a religious ritual that we cross off our daily spiritual agendas. Prayer is about connecting with God. Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer, says in his study How to Develop a Strong Prayer Life, “Prayer was never meant to be duty-based or merely results-oriented. Rather, it is the place of encounter with God where our spirit is energized as we grow to love Him more.” Our prayer lives would be so radically altered if we were consciously aware that each time we breathe a word to the Lord we are facilitating an environment for encounter with Holy Spirit. We must remind ourselves that our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears, but be mindful that we are engaging with the Sovereign God of all.
Why should we pray? There are many reasons why we should venture into an intentional prayer relationship with the Lord, but I want to focus on the one I consider most valuable.
“Prayer is not a list, it’s not an activity…it’s connectivity.” – Louie Giglio
Prayer is about connecting with God on a personal level. It is more than speaking words into an empty room. It is more than the designated five minutes at the beginning and end of a church service. It is more than the 30-second recitation before every meal. Prayer is an invitation for God’s spirit to intertwine with our own. Bickle calls prayer a place of encounter. Our prayer closets should be burning with a holy flame as a result of consistent, intentional, focused time on communing with God.
My pastor likened intentional prayer to a romantic relationship. We don’t find it bizarre if our loved one texts or calls us once a day to check on us. Neither do we think it strange if they communicate with us several times a day. How many of us ladies love to receive “Just thinking about you” phone calls? How many guys smile when they receive an “I appreciate you” text message? It makes us feel desired, loved, and treasured. More than that, we communicate with our loved one as a way to stay connected with them. Our intentional communication reminds them, “You still mean everything to me.” Likewise, we should be intentional about cultivating connection between our heart and the Father’s heart.
Frequent, intentional, focused prayer is the breeding ground for intimacy with the Lord. Whisper sweet-nothings to Him. Worship Him with your words of passionate love. Prayer is a conversation; He will respond. Let your prayer closet become a chamber of unabashed, unquenchable, fiery adoration. It will surprise you how soon you’ll become addicted to His presence.
Question: What are other ways you maintain intimacy with God?