In his book, Prayer, Tim Keller says:
“[Prayer is] a personal communicative response to the knowledge of God… [our] continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him…The power of our prayers, then, lies not primarily in our effort and striving, or in any technique, but rather in our knowledge of God.”
This means that prayer is speaking to God in a response to what we understand God’s word to be revealing to us about his power and character. Through our prayers God heals (Genesis 20:17, James 5:14-15), he relents (Exodus 32:1-14), he forgives (James 5:15), he saves (Mathew 14:28-32), and he does much more. Moses spoke with God face to face (Exodus 33:11), and Paul often states that he fervently prays for others (Romans 1:8-10, 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, and many others).
Given the overwhelming biblical witness — God’s people crying out to him on every page — we can can conclude easily that we should be praying. In fact, Jesus himself made time to get away and pray to his Father (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:23). However, we have an even more sure reason than that of plain example: Jesus told us to (Matthew 5:44, Mark 13:18, Luke 6:28) and taught us how (Matthew 6:5-13). In prayer, we praise God for who he is, ask him to accomplish his will and spread his kingdom, and ask of him things for ourselves in light of it all. This is how God works. Somehow, and in some way, the sovereign God of the universe accomplishes the plans he decreed in eternity past through the prayers of his people. What an amazing God we have!
Regular and devotional prayer will push us deeper into the truth of the gospel itself. Consider Paul’s prayer for God to remove his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Paul prayed earnestly three times that God would remove the thorn, and God replied to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Did Paul not have enough faith? Was he not good enough for God? These are ridiculous questions. Paul, just like you and me, was justified before God through faith in Christ. When God looked upon him he saw his Son. God saw Jesus’ perfect record, and through Christ’s weakness Paul confidently came before the throne of grace and had his prayer heard.
However, God showed Paul what he shows us regularly as well: His grace is enough. He will sustain us, he will be with us, he will not leave us or forsake us, and he will bring us finally home to be with him. Prayer thrusts us into this place of seeing our dependence upon God for everything from our most basic tangible needs of food to our most basic spiritual needs of forgiveness and deliverance. His grace is enough.
Have you incorporated the spiritual discipline of daily prayer into your life?
If so, how has prayer brought you peace stemming from God’s grace?
If not, what do you think is holding you back from responding to God in regular prayer?