One of the most important vehicles in maintaining any healthy relationship is communication. In our relationship with Jesus it is no different. Obviously then, prayer is an extremely important facet of our lives. We do this, not to keep God up to date or to keep Him on the ball, but rather, to grow in our relationship with Him and to be available to Him. This being the case, prayer deserves a lot of effort on our part. Even though we can all concede the importance of prayer, we also can easily confess great difficulty in doing it. Often these difficulties can get us to the point where we accept a very poor prayer life, or at least a lot less than what God wants for us.
His highest willingness Perhaps the first step in overcoming these difficulties is realizing that our attitude toward prayer may be wrong. Sometimes we can view God as someone who has laid an obstacle course before us, and if we successfully navigate it we get to speak with Him. But this attitude negates the very act of Jesus’ death and resurrection that gave us free access to the Father. I once heard Dr. Robert Cooke express this very well. He said, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of His highest willingness.”
We could start then by asking the Lord to reveal to us any poor attitudes that we may have. And then we can ask Him for the grace to let them go. We need to realize that prayer is one of the most exciting things we can do. I realize that it doesn’t often feel like that. I know that is the case for me. But that doesn’t change the truth – when we are praying we have the ear of the Master of the Universe! Any problems are on our part. We need to give Him our ear as well.
Necessary for survival It could be the case that we don’t value prayer enough. I’m sure if someone were to ask us if prayer is important we would all give the correct answer. But do our actions betray us? In reality, prayer is not just a Christian accessory, it is necessary for our survival.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life.” The word “keep” here does not mean “keep” in the sense of being possessive. Rather it refers to keeping a garden, making sure that all is well and that life is coming forth. Being an active participant in our life with God is the only sure way of bringing forth real life in us, for it all comes from Him.
In short, we need to pray. If you find that your prayer life is poor, don’t give up. A poor prayer life is better than no prayer life. Just let it be a springboard to a better prayer life – step by step. Let us ask the Lord to help us and to bring us to the point that we can see that praying (however much time we spend doing it) is as important as breathing.