Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 4: 2

 

Although prayer is something that Christians do at regular or set times in certain settings, it is much more than that. During many of our worship services we have established times for prayer. People determine to take planned parts of their days and devote that time to prayer. We set aside days of the year and hours of some of our days for prayer. All of these prayer practices are good things and honor God’s desire for us to be people who engage with Him with prayer. Yet, these practices are only part of God’s intent for us to be people of prayer.

 

God listens with great interest to the words that we speak to Him. The Lord enters into these times of deep personal expression with the fullness of His presence. The Holy Spirit is with us fully and totally, and He works within us to show us the words that we need to pray. The Spirit also assists us in hearing and in understanding what it is that the Father is saying to us. Christ goes before us to proclaim His people worthy to speak our petitions and to lay the words of our hearts before the Holy One, righteous God Almighty. The Father hears us, engages with our lives, and grants His grace, mercy, and blessing to us. As we pray, we are in deep and intimate communion with our God, and He is involved in like manner with us.

 

Paul’s instruction for us reflects the realities of life. As our days develop and too often spin away from our desired course, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that prayer is a vital part of our foundation of faith. There are many situations in life that are best handled in and through prayer; yet, our natural tendency is to solve the problem and pray in thanksgiving after all is well again. God desires for us to see it the other way around. He wants for us to turn toward His will and to fully operate out of His truth in all matters, from routine to momentous. This orientation of our hearts and minds toward God is best accomplished through an on-going, all-encompassing practice of prayerful communication with God.