How's your prayer life?
It's a question I’ve been pondering quite a bit lately. Especially after I heard a bold statement from one of my favorite pastors, where he said:
“Your faith is only as strong as your prayer life.”
At first, I thought this was a pretty extreme statement. How could one judge my faith based off of ONE aspect of my relationship with God? What about the time that I spend reading the Word every day, the time I spend going to church and listening to sermons, and what about the times that I already DO pray every day?! But the more I thought about this statement, the more I started to see the validity and the truth behind it.
If our faith is a measure of how much we believe God will come through and how much we believe God is who He says He is, and prayer is the avenue by which we make our requests known to God, believing that He will come through, there seems that there would be a direct correlation between our faith in God and our consistency in bringing our prayers to Him.
Now, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying to mean that prayer is more important than spending time in the Word and continually consuming content that stirs your affections for Jesus. They’re all equally important and instrumental in pursuing a growing relationship with Jesus. Prayer is simply the area in my life that I see lacking more than others, and maybe it is in yours as well.
One of the most common questions Christians want to know the answer to is: “What is God’s will for my life?” Well, the Bible has something to say about that in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It says:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This verse spells out pretty clearly that a part of God’s will for all of our lives, is that we would pray continually. I believe that as we pray and commit time to seek and pursue a deeper relationship with God, our hearts will naturally fall more in line with God’s heart and His divine will, allowing us to be the light, the love, and the people that can show those around us how awesome our God is.
If our ultimate goal as Christians is sanctification, or to become more and more like Christ throughout life, it would be foolish of us not to look at the life of Christ and how He emulated the importance and the necessity of prayer. Written all over scripture, we see examples of Jesus praying with others (Luke 9:28), for others (Matthew 19:13-14), and on his own (Matthew 26). It is plain to see that prayer was an essential part of Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
Jesus prayed in all of these scenarios because He was rightfully aware of what Paul would later write in Philippians 4: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” God desires to hear your heart. YES, He already knows you inside and out, but He wants you to bring your cares, your anxieties, your hopes, and your dreams to Him and He wants to hear about them often.
Look at Jesus in Matthew 26. This is the famous passage where Jesus asks God to take His cup – the crucifixion – away from Him. Jesus was anxious about what was to come, and He brought His hope to God – that somehow, the plans could change. We all know that the plans didn’t change, but this is a beautiful example of Jesus bringing his human cares, anxieties, and hopes to God, and God in His divinity moving forward in a different direction. But through prayer and this denial, Jesus was able to clearly see God’s desires and direction and Jesus could align His heart accordingly. This provides the beautiful but hard truth, that even when we don’t get what we hope, we need to recognize that God’s direction still prevails and will always be better. We need to bring our prayers to the foot of His throne and have firm enough faith to believe that God’s answer will always remain superior and purposeful.
In my hunger to grow my prayer life, God has been faithful to provide avenues for me to do so. The two ways that have been the most helpful are:
- Pray more than you think you should/are comfortable doing. Throughout this season, God has opened my eyes to see the countless opportunities throughout my day where I can be still and find peace by bringing my requests to Him. Find those moments in your own life. For me it’s been at work, when I reach a checkpoint and I take a few moments to just decompress. Rather than an opportunity to scroll through Instagram, it’s an opportune time to pray.
- Pray through Scripture. Scripture is the living and active Word of God. There are countless passages where God speaks to the kind of man or woman that He created and desires us to be. Start reading the Proverbs – the Book of Wisdom where God lays out clearly the path to life. As you read the Proverbs, pray through them that God would mold you into a man or woman of wisdom and that your heart would be open to the change He desires to spark in your life. For example, when reading Proverbs 11:12-13 I pause and pray that God would make me a man who holds my tongue and speaks only when it’s conducive to build others up and help them grow in their faith; that I wouldn’t settle for the worldly pattern of gossip, but that I would be trustworthy with secrets and any temptation to gossip would manifest into a willingness to address the issue directly.
Implementing these two principals has been powerful. They have led to awesome prayers and a connection to God that I haven't felt before. I really encourage you to make these a daily rhythm in your life.
I’ll leave you with this: Spending time growing in your faith and knowledge of who God is will never be a waste of time.
Noah Rivera // Humbled Daily Co-founder, Wyoming native and petroleum engineer.