James 4:1-3; 5:13-18
Prayer is a necessary and vital part of a Christians relationship with God and of a Christian’s walk. Indeed, it is not just suggested that God’s people pray – they are commanded to do so. We are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Colossians 4:2) – which are commands. But why does God command us to pray? First, prayer is a means by which we get to know God. Second, prayer is a through which God works to extend his kingdom and to bring blessing to his people. While prayer is important, it may be that we do not believe in its power. After all, we have all prayed for things that did not come about. We must understand first of all that sometimes we pray amiss. Sometimes we pray just to fulfill our own selfish desires (James 4:3). Other times we pray for what we believe is good, but God says “no” to the particulars of our prayer and instead gives us that which is good from his divine wisdom. Our prayers are often centered on our comforts and release from trial – God’s good is centered on our being made more like Christ. What we need are hearts that rest in God’s goodness and will – hearts that have at their core that God’s “will be done” – not ours.
We also need to consider both the individual and corporate nature of prayer. Every Christian must spend much time in their “prayer closet” – but every Christian must also lift their prayers before Lord in the company of like-hearted saints. In his grace, God has chosen to work through the corporate prayers of his people in mighty ways. So we ought not neglect gathering together to pray. Of course in the end, the biggest thing we can do is PRAY!