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Diving Deeper | Prayer

When I’ve asked people, “What is prayer?” many respond that it means talking to God. Most of the people I’ve polled also said that they pray most when in a time of need. These would be my two standard responses, as well. 

As I’ve been exploring the rhythm of prayer, God has shown me the shortcomings of these perspectives in my life. Of course, the need to pray when in hardship is undoubtedly understandable. But, if I allow this to be my only understanding and practice of prayer, I’m selling myself short of the fantastic benefits and blessings of a prayer life. When I view prayer as talking to God, I know it has connotations of my speech or requests toward Him. There honestly isn’t much of me listening to hear from Him. If I’m conversing with the Lord through prayer, I need a posture to receive instruction. Also, if the only time I’m seeking to pray to God is in the midst of crisis, I am missing the beautiful benefits of communion with Him amid peace. 

Our prayer is not only a defense against the difficulties and trials of life. Prayer becomes how we can navigate and purposefully move forward. As we attempt to live out of the rest that we’ve discovered in Christ, it is through prayer that we will maintain a conversation with the One who is leading and guiding our lives. We must remain a people of prayer. If we, as followers of Jesus, allow our need for prayer to diminish, we will lean on our fragile and fallen nature rather than God’s enormous and wonder-working power. 

As Proverbs 3:5–8 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” We need the Lord’s wisdom to live with purpose and clarity out of the rest we’ve found in Him. When we dedicate our hearts to prayer, we can trust that the Lord will direct our steps. 

We’ve even seen this unwavering and hopeful prayer lead to a revival. In the 1800s, a man named E. M. Bounds sought God to break the darkness that covered his city. His initial idea was to establish weekly prayer sessions that sometimes lasted several hours. God did excellent work in Franklin, Tennessee, during this time. When writing about this incredible revival season, Bounds said, “Our praying needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a persistency which will not be denied, and a courage that never fails.”

As it says in verse in Proverbs, trusting the Lord’s leading and power will bring healing and refreshment. Many of us have spiritual or emotional hurts that need restoration. When we pray, we experience seeing spiritual things happen in our midst. It increases our faith as a people and leads us to go boldly before the throne.

To learn more about the spiritual discipline of prayer, check out the second episode of QAVA’s Reset series.

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