Various studies suggest that more people than not believe in the power of prayer. Even if their idea of deity is unclear or they do not attend church on a regular basis, many of us turn to God in times of loneliness or need, often as a last resort.
Fewer remember to say thanks when their prayer is granted.
Why You Should Pray
God exists whether we want to believe it or not. He created us, and he yearns to hear from his children in prayer. But he does not force his presence upon us. Each person has a choice of whether or when to talk to the Lord about things that matter.
Some people pray earnestly and frequently. Others pray only during emergencies. God hears all prayers and will answer according to his plan for each person’s life.
Even if you are not sure about your beliefs, pray. Why? Prayer can do many good things. An objective scientific study showed that sick people who were prayed for, whether or not they knew it, fared better than those who were not prayed for.
Prayer has also been shown scientifically to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and enhance the immune system’s ability to protect the body.
More importantly, when you pray, your faith begins to grow. Like a plant springing from a seed, your relationship with God takes root and eventually blossoms. You will know that you have gone to the ultimate source of authority for help with your problems.
You will realize that, being made in the Creator’s image, you are like him in many ways. He understands our emotions, our worries, and our needs, and he is more than able to address them. As your relationship with God grows, prayer becomes the lifeline for your earthly life now and your spiritual future to come.
Prayer is essential for our well being, and the sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can recognize and enjoy the blessings that come from regular communication with the One who loves us most.
As David during a very stressful time in his life reminds us in Psalm 17:6 (NIV), “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
How to Effectively Pray
You don’t need to make special preparations to pray, like washing or changing your clothes. God accepts us just as we are. He only requires us to be humble and contrite:
“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word” – Isaiah 66:2 (NIV).
Our heavenly Father is not a slot machine that we can play for fun or when in desperate need. He is the King of the universe, and when we recognize that, he listens to our prayers.
The main thing you can do when praying is to humble yourself before God as his child and servant. Praise him for all the blessings he has poured into your life that perhaps you took for granted up until now.
Then, be honest about the things that bother you, including a lack of faith. God knows your heart already, but he wants you to be open with him.
It may take time to build faith and trust as you seek the Lord in the Spirit through prayer. Reading the Bible provides an excellent outline of God’s work in the lives of his people – past, present, and future.
When you discover and understand how much he has already done for you by letting his son Jesus pay for your sins by dying on the cross, you will become a changed person.
You will eagerly seek him in prayer to express joy and seek comfort according to your life circumstances. God is always present, and he always cares. He never changes. He will listen when you are ready to talk to him. Put the Lord at the top of your list when things go wrong – and when things go well.
Like all parents, he wants to hear from his children and help us according to his plan for our lives. When you pray, you build trust, and trust builds faith. Praying is the most valuable spiritual resource you have.