New Year, New Hope

Devotional

Prayer

We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense.— Oswald Chambers

If you grew up praying, you might not think twice about it. But for those who were introduced to prayer later in life, well . . . it can feel a little weird. How can whispering your thoughts out into the air—or just thinking thoughts in your head—allow you to communicate with God? How does this practice lead to any meaningful change?

No doubt, from the outside, prayer seems a little complicated. But in reality, it’s a simple way of communicating with our heavenly Father. Just like any other conversation with someone you love, prayer is an intimate time of communication when we truly get to learn about one another. (That’s right. Prayer isn’t just about you talking to God. It’s also about listening to what God has to say to you.) Although God already knows everything there is to know about us, prayer is given to us as a gift to learn about Him.

Prayer is the life source between us and God. And although today’s culture has turned prayer into nothing more than a nighttime ritual, I believe God is looking for a lot more than that. Paul even went so far as to write in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Never stop praying.” Other translations say, “Pray without ceasing.”

To understand the basics of prayer, we must first unveil the reality of what prayer actually is: a conversation between you and God.

Simple, right? Yet so many of us ignore the opportunity to communicate with God because we feel like we have everything under control, or maybe because we feel like our issues are too small to be bugging the Creator of the universe with. That’s actually the beauty of God. He is big enough to handle the big problems, and He is loving enough to handle the small. Nothing is insignificant in God’s eyes. He comes with open arms and an open heart, yearning for our affection and love.

It is natural for God to want to help us. Why? Because any loving father would want to help his children, no matter the situation.

Don’t get me wrong, prayer is not synonymous with wishes spoken to a magic genie. God is definitely not a bald guy in a magic box. Prayer is your opportunity to wholeheartedly release your life into the hands of the one who created it. It’s a time to open your soul to someone who knows it better than you ever could. And it’s a gateway to gaining a deeper relationship with the one who knows your worth.

Challenge:

Take some extra minutes today to spend time in prayer with God.  If necessary, go to a quieter place—a chair by a window or outside in nature—to get away from distractions that might prevent you from hearing his voice.