Praying is like breathing. God wants our praying to be as easy and as natural as breathing and as non-stop, continuous, do-it-without-thinking as breathing is. We never stop breathing. We should never stop praying.
Paul said, pray without ceasing, Thessalonians 5:17. Paul knew the vital thing in the life of a Christian was to pray. Prayer is as vital to our spiritual life as breathing is to our natural life.
Jesus’ life was a life of prayer. Jesus assumed that we would pray. Matthew records Jesus teaching on prayer and three times in a row Jesus said, when you pray, Matthew 6:5, 6:6 and 6:7. Then in verse 9 Jesus said, this is how… begin by giving glory to God.
The gospels record that Jesus prayed constantly, for extended periods of time, and He went to solitary places to get alone with God, the Father.
Here are just a few instances:
- Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray, Matthew 14:23.
- Jesus prayed all night, till shortly before dawn, Matthew 14:25.
- Jesus got up very early in the morning… went off to a solitary place, where he prayed, Mark 1:35.
- Jesus spent all night praying, Luke 6:12.
- Jesus was praying in private, Luke 9:18.
- In the gospel of John, Jesus thanks God for always hearing Him, I know that you always hear me, John 11:42.
If Jesus made such a priority of prayer, shouldn’t we?
Prayer is communication with God. Communication is two way. We speak and listen. God speaks and He listens. God will use many ways to grab out attention. We just have to have our spiritual attention tuned into to seeing and hearing Him.
As a baby grows in their ability to communicate with their mom and dad they learn many verbal and non-verbal tools of communication. A baby’s language skills develop very naturally through continued use. Our prayer–our ability to communicate with God–develops the same way, naturally through continual use.
As a baby grows up, communication is as natural as breathing. In the same way, our prayer grows up and becomes like breathing: something we do without thinking, a continual conversation with God, a worshipful attitude all day long. Even the busiest day can be filled with a constant communication with God that is prayerful and worshipful.
Prayer is not difficult. It might begin as a discipline to create the habit, but prayer never stays a discipline, at least if the desire is to truly know God and surrender to Him. Without surrender, prayer will be difficult. Surrender is the key word here.
Prayer quickly becomes a delight, because God gives ever-increasing revelation of Himself and we realize we are spending time with the Creator of the heavens that the earth. And God is the initiator of the relationship in the first place. So…
Prayer becomes our natural response to God’s heart that is constantly calling to ours. As we grow closer to His heart, prayer is the natural communication that flows back to Him expressing our thanks and worship. Our prayer becomes less about asking Him for things and much more an expression of thanks and worship. Our Father knows what we need before we ask Him, Matthew 6:8. But this doesn’t mean we don’t ask for things, it simply changes what we ask for and how we ask.
God longs jealously for a deep relationship with us. A relationship only grows as deep and intimate as the communication allows. We only grow into a deep relationship with God through continual prayer–and surrender. God’s promise to us is, everyone who asks, receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened, Matthew 7:7. No time spent seeking God is ever wasted or lost. He responds to us by giving even more of Himself to us. If we seek Him, we will find Him, Jeremiah 29:13. God gives Himself lavishly. He wants to be known by us. He has made the way easy for us to know Him, it through continual prayer.