When you pray, do you find yourself reaching for words? Do you wonder if anyone is ‘on the other end’ listening to you? Do you expect an answer? For some, prayer is a monologue. For others, it is a conversation. Author Olie Hallesby speaks about prayer being the “breath of the soul.” Prayer is a common and important theme in Scripture.
There are many clues in Scripture which help us to unpack this crucial theme of prayer. First, we see how essential it was in Jesus life. Luke’s Gospel tells us that Jesus prayed a lot! Luke 5:16 says: “Often, Jesus went to quiet places to pray.” On many occasions, Jesus’ disciples would search for Him wondering not only where He was but also confused as to why He would not be in action most of the time. He was dedicated to prayer: “…Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” (Luke 6:12.)
Prayer was central to the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Prayer undergirded Jesus’ earthly ministry. In Jesus prayers to the Heavenly Father, He prayed that His disciples might be united. (John 17:21), He prayed for the family of Lazarus, and most dramatically, Jesus prayed that the Cross might be passed from Him but surrendered to the Father’s will.
So, why should we pray? People in relationships talk together. When we pray, we talk to God and He with us. The Lord says: “When you call, I will answer.” (Jeremiah 33:3). The entire book of Habbakkuk is a “Q and A” between God and His prophet. In their conversation, Habbakkuk approached God boldly with questions and, through the process of the discussion, Habbakkuk discovered God’s plan and heart. This is very encouraging because it gives you and I permission to approach God with confidence -pouring out our hearts to Him. When we talk to God this way, we not only find out more about God’s love for us, but we also gain a picture of what God has in store for us.
As important as talking to God and approaching Him with confidence, listening to God is essential. After Habbakkuk had said his peace, he said: I will stand at my post and listen for your response (Hab 2:1) He prepared himself so that he could hear God. Habbakkuk waited and listened. He did not fill the space with words. When you pray, and after bringing your concerns to God, do you wait to hear his response. It is often helpful to invite His response.
Prayer is a sign of a developing and or a healthy relationship. In Psalm 139, David invites Him to search David’s heart. ” You have searched me, LORD, and you know me… you lay your hand upon me (Ps 139: 1, 5). He gives us perspective in our lives not only in the dark times but also such that we might develop wisdom and good judgement.
Prayer is an expression of faith. When we pray, we are reaching out to the One who is unseen but closer than a breath. Have you prayed recently? What are the things that you need to bring to God? I encourage you that when you do, God will be listening. When you leave a space…and wait. you will hear Him speak to you.